Trinity 4 (Lk 6, 36–42)

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“A good measure, that’s been pressed down, that’s been shaken together, that’s overflowing, will be plopped into your lap.”

᛭ INI ᛭

This is the continuation and conclusion of the themes from the past few weeks. They’ve all been—the Gospel readings have all been revolving around similar ideas. But really they’re one thing.

We had 3 weeks of table-fellowship. Rich man who didn’t share his table, didn’t eat with Lazarus, but Lazarus got to recline at the eternal table with Abraham. The Parable of the great feast—to which the dregs, only the dregs, were brought. Then Jesus was eating and drinking with sinners, which prompted 3 parables: Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and The Two Lost Sons.

Those 3 texts in a sense have been driving to Jesus’ point today. Jesus has been hammering home God’s mercy and forgiveness. He’s doing the same today—hammering home forgiveness. Comparing today’s reading from Luke 6 with Matthew 6, 7, 9, and 18 lets us know Jesus taught on this a lot. (Has to get it through our thick skulls and hard hearts!) His point is this:


(I. Without forgiveness you’re dead.)

Without forgiveness you’re dead. Well, not dead-dead. “Your Father is merciful,” after all. “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good. He sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous.” “God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without prayers, even to all evil people.” (SC III) He gives the gifts of creation “without any merit or worthiness in us.” (SC II) He preserves “seedtime and harvest.” (Gen 9) But these gifts that God gives, which are confessed in the 1st Article of the Creed and prayed for in the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, are not truly life-giving—not with any lasting effect, anyway.

THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE IS FORGIVENESS. There is no life apart from God’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus, “for where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.” (LC VI) Forgiveness is the depths of God the Father’s mercy. With forgiveness He is perfect in mercy. He is merciful, perfect (τέλειος) in the death of His Son for the sins of the whole world. At Calvary God’s mercy, the forgiveness of sins, was completed and accomplished. “It is finished (τετέλεσται),” (Jn 19) Jesus said.

But it’s deeper than just forgiveness. It’s a harder truth for our old Adam, our sinful flesh; it’s most joyous to our new man in Christ Jesus. He pardons your offenses against Him and others, the people you’ve wronged and failed, hurt and harmed in your daily life. Forgiveness is pardon. To forgive is to pardon, to let the guilty go free, to cancel the debt of those who owe. That’s what the Holy Trinity does. That’s who He is! “A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, who pardons iniquity, transgression, and sin.” (Ex 34)



The Lord “forgives all your iniquity. He heals all your diseases.” (Ps 103) “By His wounds, you have been healed,” forgiven. Christ “is the propitiation for your sins and the sins of the whole world.” “The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sins.” “He purchased and won you from sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.” (SC II)

He gives you life—He forgives you. Over and over again. “Daily and much.” This is the “good measure that’s been pressed down, that’s been shaken together, that is overflowing.” He gives it right to you, but it’s overflowing! Yes, your life is forgiveness, but because the Lord gives so generously of His forgiveness it also means your baptismal life is forgiveness toward one another.

(II. Your baptismal life is forgiveness toward one another.)

We like the idea of forgiveness, if we define what forgiveness means. “I forgive but I won’t forget.” (More on that in a minute.) But if we define forgiveness like God does, when we define forgiveness has pardon, we become less and less in favor of forgiveness.

Truth is, we don’t like pardons. They offend us. They offend our sensibilities of justice. Whenever a president or governor pardons someone who’s guilty we don’t like it. We huff at such ideas! “They get off scot-free!” (We do the same thing when it comes to the Lord pardoning sinners as well.)

Well, not so much for ourselves, but for others. That’s what Jesus is driving at with His parable about a log and a speck. We’ve got good eyes and meticulous records for our neighbor. We know what they’ve done, how they need to fix their lives, what they need to do to make up for their sins. Besides that, we’re right, after all! (Especially if they’ve wronged us.) Our rightness burns bridges. (Our lives and relationship are littered with their charred remains.)

“But you don’t know what they did!” No, but God know’s what you’ve just now done to them in your heart and mind, not to mention your words besides. Even “if you know about [your neighbor’s sin], do nothing other than turn your ears into a grave and cover it.” (LC I.266) You’d actually keep the 8th Commandment that way. Besides, you can right the “I’m correct express” all they into the pit. (ὁ βάθυνος) (That’s hell…)

As it stands, however, the Lord pardons you. Unlike our “being right,” God’s rightness, His righteousness, mends bridges. He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom 3:26) He pardons you. He lets you off scot-free. That’s what Jesus’ death is really all about for you, and for all. Not only that, the Lord stuffs you full of His pardon, His forgiveness.

“A good measure, that’s been pressed down, that’s been shaken together, that’s overflowing, will be plopped into your lap.” The Lord baptizes you: Holy Baptism is for the forgiveness of all your sins. (Acts 2) Holy Absolution forgives all your sins. (Jn 20) The Supper of Jesus’ body and blood is also “for the forgiveness of all your sins.” Even the 5th Petition! “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

“If, therefore, you do not forgive, then do not think that God forgives you [Mt 18:23–25]. But if you forgive, you have this comfort and assurance, that you are forgiven in heaven. It is not because of your forgiving. For God forgives freely and without condition, out of pure grace, because He has so promised, as the Gospel teaches. But God says this in order that He may establish forgiveness as our confirmation and assurance, as a sign alongside of the promise.” (LC III.95–96)

Stuffed full of forgiveness, you overflow with it! “Every [disciple] equipped will be like His teacher.” So, Jesus on the cross to those crucifying Him: “Father, forgive them.” (Lk 23) Stephen did the same to those who were stoning him. (Acts 7) With our log removed by Christ’s forgiveness, we know then how to forgive our neighbor’s speck, “restoring them with the Spirit of Gentleness.” (Gal 6) We should at least “pray for [God’s favor] so that you would be able to forgive.” (Simple Way to Pray, 11)

The Lord’s starting that today, and each and every time you partake of the Sacrament. The Lord not only gives you forgiveness of your sins; He unites us together in His body and blood. So we also pray that God would strengthen us with Communion “in faith toward Him and in fervent love toward one another.” And we chiefly love one another fervently, earnestly, sincerely by forgiving them. “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet 4) We see our neighbor’s speck where our log is: on Jesus at Calvary. And in the here and now the Lord forgives your sins, and He also forgives your neighbor’s sins. (He uses you to do it.)


“A good measure, that’s been pressed down, that’s been shaken together, that’s overflowing, will be plopped into your lap.”


Without forgiveness there’s no life. The Lord gives you the life of His forgiveness. He stuffs you full of forgiveness. Daily and much. More forgiveness than you have sins. Each and every time He forgives, He forgives you “all your sins.” Many and various ways for Him to give you His forgiveness: Baptism, Absolution, Preaching, His Word, the Supper of His Body and Blood.

Your baptismal life is now one of forgiveness toward others. You’re just passing along Jesus’ forgiveness, anyway. He died for their sin. He wants them to receive forgiveness. Who are you to stand in the way? “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” He’s speaking to those already forgiven. Forgiveness, Jesus’ forgiveness, comes at the beginning, middle, and end. It doesn’t matter if He’s winning that forgiveness for you, delivering it to you, or causing it to overflow through you to others.

He has more forgiveness than you or your neighbor has sins. Forgiveness for logs. Forgiveness for specks. Forgiveness, life, and salvation—for you, for each, for all.


᛭ INI ᛭

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