New Year’s Eve 2019 (Rom 8:31b–39)

Photo by Vika Fleisher on Unsplash

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

“He did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with His Son gift to us all things?”


That’s a good theme for the New Year. Actually every year, every day. Truth is this time of year is full of mixed feelings. There’s always the look back at the best of times this year, and anticipation of what new good things will come. But maybe in our look back over the past year there are some not so good things, some pains, mistakes, or struggles. Maybe there isn’t excitement about the New Year. Maybe there’s a lot of worry, too. Or maybe it’s a mixture of both—joys and pains from the past year, excitement and worry over the next.

This explains the weirdness of our three readings. It’s why the Old Testament is all about past wrongs, why Psalm 90’s all about the passing of time, and why the Gospel’s all about being ready for Christ’s second coming. Each year past is another year closer to that. It all comes together in Paul’s letter to the Romans. There he preaches Christ: our Joy of joys, our Peace in worry, our Forgiveness for sin, our Savior even on the Last Day.

((3. The Son redeems you. [32a, 33–34]))

Paul’s message fits tonight because it’s not just New Year’s Eve. It’s the Seventh Day of Christmas. The Son came from His Father, was born of the Virgin Mary. As one of the hymns in the hymnal reminds us: “Christ the Child was born for you. Christ the Child was born for you. (LSB 393)” He was born in the darkness of a sheep stall, to find us in our darkness. He doesn’t shy away from what’s most wrong with us. He comes and is born of the Virgin Mary, “laid in a manger” for you.

He redeems you. He “suffered for us under Pontius Pilate.” His blood buys you back from your sin, your failures of the past year. His death and grave saves you from your death and grave, whenever that maybe: next week, next month, next year, 10 years from now. His resurrection was for you.

And this Jesus “will come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead.” That’s what Paul reminds us about tonight. And on that day who will condemn you? Will “Christ Jesus who died, who was also raised, who is seated at the right hand of God, who is right now interceding for you?” Don’t think so.

The core of Paul’s message is simple, and the Jesus He’s preaching doesn’t change. He redeems you always: last year, next year, every year. Nothing you do can undo Christmas, Good Friday, or Easter. It’s as simple as that! GOD GAVE UP HIS SON FOR YOU.

((2. The Father cares for you. [31b, 32b]))

Your Father cares for you, too. He gives you all that you need to support your body and life. He took care of you this past year. He’ll take care of you all through next year, too. Why wouldn’t He? He’s your Father. You’re His baptized child. “Won’t He also with His Son gift you all things?”

He will take care of you this next year, too. Sure, we don’t know what’s coming. He does. He’ll make it work out for good. He loves you no matter what. Nothing can change that. “Nothing can separate you from His love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Your Father’s not out to get you. If something bad happened, it’s not His judgment against you. It’s not some worldly preview of what awaits you on the Last Day. That’s ridiculous! Even though, sadly, that’s what we believe when the going gets tough. But who’s going to accuse you? The devil’s been cast out, and soon he’ll be thrown into the hell created for him. Your Father won’t condemn you either. He’s “the God who justifies.” He declares you innocent of all charges because of His Son. You’re holy, pure. You’re forgiven. That’s what justified means. “Innocent.”

Of course God will take care you. He already has. He won’t leave you or forsake you. “This is most certainly true.” How can you trust that? His Son died for you. His Son rose for you. If He did that with His eternal Son for you, of course He’ll give you daily bread, of course He’ll never ever be against you. GOD GAVE UP HIS SON FOR YOU.

((1. The Spirit carries you through. [35–39]))

But what if your worries happen? What if you make the same mistakes? What if the pains of the past year continue in the next? Well, what if all of creation blows apart? What if there’s tribulation? What if there’s distress? What about persecution or famine or nakedness or sword? What if there’s death? What if the devil comes for you? What if the entire creation turned against you?

So what? It doesn’t matter one bit. There’s nothing past, present, or future that will separate you from God’s love in Christ Jesus. And besides that big promise from Paul, you have the Spirit. You’re not on your own. The Holy Spirit carries you through—might feel like He’s dragging you from time to time.

Nothing can undo your Baptism. Nothing can undo an Absolution you’ve heard. Nothing can change the Promises of Jesus that the Spirit puts into you when you read your Bible. Nothing can undo the Lord’s Supper. No matter what happens, you won’t be destroyed. No matter what you’ve done, you’re not on the hook for it. Jesus died for you and the Spirit is yours. He works within you. He’ll carry you through all of it. You’re baptized, you’re forgiven, you’ve received Jesus’ body and blood. That’s the Spirit’s unchangeable work for you.

The Spirit delivers to you what God has done for you in His Son. He delivers it so that you will believe it, and get the benefits through faith. He even creates that faith for you as a gift! That’s what the Spirit does for you, and that Spirit is yours always. Why? GOD GAVE UP HIS SON FOR YOU.


“He did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with His Son gift to us all things?”

Paul’s message is true no matter what. It was true this past year. It will be true this next year, too. This year, next year, and forever you’re saved, you will be cared for, you’re going to make it through. You’re caught in the Holy Trinity’s conspiracy to save you.

Jesus redeemed you. You can’t undo Bethlehem, Calvary, or Easter. Jesus was born, died, and rose for you. You don’t have to worry about your Father. He’s not out to get you, neither is Jesus. He sent Jesus for you, and so your Father will definitely take care of you this year and every year He gives to you. Nothing can undo Jesus’ salvation, and nothing can undo His baptizing you, His absolving you, His Scriptures, or His Body and Blood either. The Holy Spirit is using all those things to carry you through everything that comes your way.

You’ll make it. You’re cared for. You’re saved. GOD GAVE UP HIS SON FOR YOU. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


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