Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Searched


Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts . . .

No one invites this kind of scrutiny by The Most High God unless he has a conscience free from guilt.

These words are given among men to pray because The Most High God undertook to visit the sons of men with His everlasting mercy in Christ Jesus, adorning them with His righteousness so that they, too, share in His glory, a glory demonstrated not in pomp and power, but in suffering and humility.

But why invite the scrutiny? Why ask God to search the heart? Because the heart of God searches out those who are lost and condemned creatures, without help and without hope unless and until God Himself would take up their nature and be condemned to die for their sin.

Know from this that there is no sin in having anxious thoughts. Anxious thoughts are not hopeless thoughts. Anxious thoughts are the thoughts of God because He anxiously desires to bring poor sinners to Himself here and now. He is intent upon vindicating those who mourn and who walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

He does this in no other way than becoming true Man, born of the Virgin Mary so that He may be lifted up and exalted wearing the same bedraggled flesh than inhabits all the sons of Adam. Moreover, He has attached His benefits to His Word and Spirit so that all flesh under the sun may hear, know, and receive the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.

All Christians, since they participate in the benefits obtained by Christ Jesus, the Creator of all and Redeemer of all, may pray these words with confidence, along with fear and trembling. They may also rejoice evermore, because they abide in the Shadow of the Almighty, namely Christ Jesus, Who has gone before them and lives, though once He was dead.

Christ Jesus does not suffer and die for Himself, but for those who are dead of their own accord. He lives for them, too, to bless them and take them to Himself after a short time of suffering in this world.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD, and I will sing praises to Your name.

The gist of Christianity is not, "Let go, and let God." It is "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." This does not sit well with the ears of men, because it demands something they cannot do by their own reason or strength.

The former notion of Christianity, "Let go, and let God," is a nice, easy way to comfort oneself with an idol. "Let go" of what? How are you going to do that? Yes, you may commit all things to another, but to whom are you letting them go, and why?

The latter, however, demands a crucifixion and an application of righteousness at Someone else's expense, namely He who was made in the likeness and image of true God and true Man, the Man Christ Jesus.

He, by His Word and Spirit as generated from eternity by the Father, penetrates like water coming down from the heavens, seeking and seeping all the way down to the depths of Sheol in order to save and restore those who would reject Him outright.

In doing so He arranges that His accomplishments may be brought to bear upon poor sinners in bodily form unto the resurrection of the dead. Therefore the hope of a Christian, and the gist of Christianity, is receiving and abiding in Christ by virtue of His grace and favor alone.

Repentance and the kingdom of heaven go together like body and blood, meat and drink. As with all of creation, these are brought into being and delivered by the grace of God in Christ Jesus alone.

As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
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Monday, February 6, 2017

The Fullness of Time


But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law . . . -Galatians 4:4

The fullness of time as pertains to the period when Christ Jesus walked among us in bodily form is noticeably bereft of photographic, cinematic, and audio-phonic repetition.

Could it be because it has been the intent of God from the beginning to have prophets, apostles, evangelists, and teachers in His Church, all of whom He uses as His very own mouth piece in the midst of people who need a salvation delivered to them not through airwaves and imagination, but through tangible means such baptism, supper, preaching, and absolution?

Absolutely.

That is largely why a man of this world in this age is loathe to bring himself under the discipline of the Church, preferring instead to tickle his own ears and fancy with musings untamed by the words of those who have studied and who know what the Word of the LORD says in every time and place.

It is inherently painful to dwell in the midst of people who look you in the eye and speak the truth, but without Truth there is no discipline. Without pain there is no discipline. Without discipline there is no life. Therefore God has placed His own speech in our midst though men who preach the Gospel so that that discipline may be administered according to His Word and will.

It is painful because it cuts to the core both individually and corporately. You cannot "be your own man" in this place. Nor can you be "everyone's friend." What you are, instead, is a child of God. A member of His Body.

His is a body that suffers and cries out. His is a body that lives here in time and also in eternity, because eternity has entered into time in the fullness of time at such a time when the phony mediums mentioned above were unavailable to offer any falseness, titillation, or self-enriching pablum your flesh would like to conjure up for itself.

In addition to entering into this mortal life in the fullness of time, your LORD Jesus Christ also lives in His flesh (and yours!) to precisely the right age to fulfill all righteousness. Most who have studied the matter say He dwelt in our midst in bodily form as we know it for a period of 33 years.

Why not 930 years like the first Adam? Why not till the age He was given to open the scroll and read of Himself in the Synagogue saying, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing?”

Whatever the reason, you may be sure of this: In His body He performed and suffered everything necessary for you to enter into eternal life, and He is intent on delivering this righteousness to you daily and richly.

Whatever your hands and feet, reason and senses, have done that are contrary to the holy will and purpose of God, He, by the age of 33 years, was able and willing to perform before the face of God while pouring out His soul unto death, hungering and thirsting for your vindication and life. You may also reckon that, whether you have reached the age of conception or the age of several decades, this Righteousness is all you need for all time.

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