Saturday, July 10, 2010

I lay my hand on my mouth.  
Once I have spoken, and I will not answer. 
Even twice, and I will add no more.
                            ~Job 40:4b-5

Just over a year ago, I started speaking because I thought it was safe.
It was not.
I will add no more on those things.
I lay my hand on my mouth.

A while ago, someone sent me his paper on Luther's theology of the cross when I first told him about Forde.  Last night, I tried to open it and ran into a problem.  The formatting was weird, and I couldn't read it, with all these numbers and text only on the bottom quarter of each page.  A short while later, I thought to save it as a plain text file and then cut and paste it back into Word.  It worked!

That's how I work.  I can figure out work arounds to where I need to go, even if I cannot get there head on, the right way.  I often speak in work arounds.  Bettina is the only person who has ever followed me in those circles and does not mind that I do so at times.  I miss her dearly, though I am thankful she has the opportunity to be on vacation with her family.

I picked up Luther's commentary on Galatians again, juggling that along with Walther, Forde, and Krauth.  Once again, I relish even what Luther writes about the greeting:  Grace and Peace to you.  Ever since I first read this bit of his teaching, I no longer have been able to gloss over the beginning and end of the epistles.  All of the Living Word is important, is purposeful.
Verse 3. Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
The terms of grace and peace are common terms with Paul and are now pretty well understood. But since we are explaining this epistle, you will not mind if we repeat what we have so often explained elsewhere. The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly and to believe it with all our heart.

The greeting of the Apostle is refreshing. Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever. Only Christians possess this victorious knowledge given from above. These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity. Grace involves the remission of sins, peace, and a happy conscience. Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the Law. The Law reveals guilt, fills the conscience with terror, and drives men to despair. Much less is sin taken away by man-invented endeavors. The fact is, the more a person seeks credit for himself by his own efforts, the deeper he goes into debt. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God. In actual living, however, it is not so easy to persuade oneself that by grace alone, in opposition to every other means, we obtain the forgiveness of our sins and peace with God.

The world brands this a pernicious doctrine. The world advances free will, the rational and natural approach of good works, as the means of obtaining the forgiveness of sin. But it is impossible to gain peace of conscience by the methods and means of the world. Experience proves this. Various holy orders have been launched for the purpose of securing peace of conscience through religious exercises, but they proved failures because such devices only increase doubt and despair. We find no rest for our weary bones unless we cling to the word of grace.

The Apostle does not wish the Galatians grace and peace from the emperor, or from kings, or from governors, but from God the Father. He wishes them heavenly peace, the kind of which Jesus spoke when He said, "Peace I leave unto you: my peace I give unto you." Worldly peace provides quiet enjoyment of life and possessions. But in affliction, particularly in the hour of death, the grace and peace of the world will not deliver us. However, the grace and peace of God will. They make a person strong and courageous to bear and to overcome all difficulties, even death itself, because we have the victory of Christ's death and the assurance of the forgiveness of our sins.

My flesh is indeed frail.

To be honest, I am wondering if I shall be able to recover from the grievous mistake I made in speaking that which should have been kept hidden.  Yet, I do have the peace I find when the sweet, sweet Gospel fills my ears.  I hid once.  I shall learn to hide again.  I have to in order to survive in this world.

In the mean while, I want to learn more of the theology of the cross.  For as was quoted by Agustine in the paper mentioned above:  Thou has made us for Thyself, and our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee.

Even if the truth of me is not right for the world, I can find rest in Him.  I do at times.  I long for more. 

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  ~John 10:9a


We were falling, rushing toward the ground and our destruction.  But then, out of nowhere, Jesus caught us.  Our heart could slow and we could breathe again.  We were completely safe.

Simply put, Jesus saves us.  He rescues us from an eternity without the light of God's presence.  He also saves our souls from loneliness, our spirits from heaviness, our minds from guilt and anxiety, and one day He will rescue our bodies from the decay of the world.  We owe our entire lives to our great Savior and Rescuer.

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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