Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
Pentecost - the Feast for our Salvation.
This past Sunday was the Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter (Pentecost means fifty in Greek). At Pentecost the Church of Christ celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Church.This is the feast of victory for our God, we sing at Grace and Zion Lutheran churches on the great festivals of the Church calendar. And rightfully so. Actually, we could sing that at all our Communion services, for those are all celebrations of our salvation, when our Lord Jesus comes to us and gives Himself to us, with His body and blood, and gives His salvation to us, for real, just as He promised.
In some of our sister congregations they actually do sing it every Sunday, that This is the feast of victory for our God, and it is good and right that they do that. We do not, and that is good and right also. For by us not singing every Sunday that This is the feast of victory for our God, and by us doing so at the festivals, the special character of the festivals comes all the more to its right; we are reminded that each festival we celebrate is a feast for our salvation. We are reminded that the events we celebrate are all events through which God has brought His great work of salvation to completion.
This holds true also for Pentecost; Pentecost also is all about our salvation. It was that so many years ago, fifty days after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus; and it is that today.
For the coming of the Holy Spirit means that the triune God Himself comes to us through His Word. This was what happened so many years ago, fifty days after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The Church of Christ spoke the Word of God of what His love has done, and spoke it in His power; and those who heard His Word were overcome by the power of His love, and won for His salvation.
And this is what still happens in the life of His Church, at Pentecost and whenever else His Church and His Christians gather to celebrate His salvation. Through His Word of what His love has done, God Himself comes to those who hear His Word, and with the power of His love He wins us from the death of disobedience and defiance, and wins us for His salvation, and gives Himself to us, and His salvation.
The Holy Spirit is the life and breath of God (in both the Biblical languages, the word for Spirit also means breath), and the very innermost self of God. With the Holy Spirit coming to us, the triune God Himself comes to us, and gives Himself to us. Pentecost means nothing less than that.
Our Lord Jesus said as much, when He spoke in advance about the coming of the Spirit: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my Word; and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our home with him.” And He has had His holy Apostle Paul write it, that “the love of God is poured out into our hearts with the Holy Spirit.” That is how we have come to the faith, so that we embrace the salvation of God. This could never happen by our own choice and decision. For we are in ourselves dead in our trespasses and sins. But with the Word of God of His love and what His love has done for us, His love shines upon us, and shines into, so that death and disobedience and defiance must yield in us, and we surrender to His love. The Word of the cross is, as Holy Scripture says it, the power of God unto salvation.
And the Word with which He makes us surrender for our salvation is His promise of full and complete forgiveness for all sin, and of His Kingdom and His eternal life, given to us freely and for nothing out of the goodness of God, all because of His love and what His love has done for us in the sufferings and death of His Son. More than that, the Word of God is Christ Himself coming to us. For the Son of God is the Word of God, who was with God in the beginning, as Holy Scripture says it, and by whom all things were made. And the Word was made flesh when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And still He comes to us, who is Himself the eternal Word of God, in His Word, through which the Holy Spirit does His work of salvation.
As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, we celebrate our salvation, nothing less. We celebrate that with His Word and by His Spirit our Saviour gives Himself to us, and His salvation, through His Church's proclamation of His promise, and in His Baptism, and in the festive meal of salvation – all in accordance with His promise.
Our life as His Church, and as His Christians, is His own life in us. And with that, His heavenly life in us has already begun. And with it, His Kingdom is ours, and His eternal life. This is the feast of victory for our God. And of our salvation. For His victory is our salvation.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem