What is the Essence of Being a Lutheran Christian in Mercy?

mercyRev. Dr. Mattthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, writes,

What is the essence of being a Lutheran Christian in mercy?  Christ!  What does Christ do? He speaks Law and Gospel. He speaks consolation.  He speaks His Word. He makes promises, and He acts in love. What do we do as Christians? We speak. We speak of Christ. We can’t help but speak of Christ. The fundamental truth of the Bible that there is no salvation outside faith in Christ and His merits animate the Church’s work for those in need.  If this is not so, such work becomes merely secular and may be performed by any entity in society.

The Gospel gives forgiveness and begets merciful living. Lives that receive mercy and grace cannot but be lovingly merciful toward the neighbor. The merciful washing of Baptism in Romans 6 produces the merciful living in Rom. 7:4-6. I noticed when Paul taught about the Sacraments or the Gospel, the consequence was also always a life of mercy and service. In absolution, the merciful Word of the Gospel begets merciful speaking and living.

Repentance ought to produce good fruits, the greatest possible generosity to the poor (Apology 12, 174). When we refuse to address the needs within the community as people of God and particularly as the Church of God, we are not merely breaking the Law, but we are also denying the Sacraments.  We are denying what we are made in Baptism. We’re denying what Christ’s body and blood is for us  Christ’s mandate and example of love for the whole person remains our supreme example for life in this world and for the care of the needy body and soul. …

The call to mercy is particularly addressed to Christians as a corporate community, church, whether local or synod, even national or international. …

Source: “Being Active in Mission”, by Matthew C. Harrison in Mercy in Action: Essays on Mercy, Human Care and Disaster Response. Compiled and Edited by Rev. Ross Edward Johnson.  St. Louis: The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, pages 40-41.

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