Friday, September 02, 2005

False Self-Image

Some musings on Law and Gospel:

The Law, when it is preached or taught to us full-strength, convicts us and makes us squirm because it forces us to face the person within us--the person we ourselves hide from and that we hide from others. The Law unveils our deepest and most wicked impulses, impure motives, and base desires. It shows us that at our core we are not what we want to be nor what want others to see and know. God's Law cracks the facade, exposes our weaknesses (if at first only to us) and leaves us burdened with the guilt of this dark self-realization and exposure. So what are we left with? We are left perfectly helpless, ripe for the Holy Spirit to send us His comforting Word of Gospel, that our sins have been forgiven by Christ Jesus' death on the cross. For He has truly seen the depths of our hearts, of the wickedness, malice, the sugar-coated deceit, and the white lies that we use to protect our flimsy facade. But with the sharp two-edged sword of His Word He exposes our sin, however deep-rooted, with the edge of the Law. But once we have been exposed and brought to repentance, the edge of the Gospel becomes the blessed weapon that wards off Satan's attacks and accusations--yea the Word of God, that sword that Christ yields--it not only wards off Satan but it slays him. For Satan is a marked man and his time is near. In Jesus' death on the cross He bore the full weight of our sin and its accusation, so that we might be taken up clean before our heavenly Father. So that as we are forgiven, washed clean by Christ's blood, we no longer hide beneath a facade of what we want to be or wish people to see. But we boldly stand in all faith, clothed in Christ's righteousness, standing before God justified--declared innocent--not standing as what we in our sin wanted to be, but standing as what God wants us to be--namely righteous, pure, and holy. So that when God sees us He sees not our guilt, not our facade, but Christ's righteousness. And all the accusations of Satan fall like so many dead flies, for his eternal end is near...as our eternal beginning has come in Christ Jesus! To Him be all glory and praise! Amen.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

America's Fictional God

A few weeks back, I was stuck in a hotel watching movies, and happened to see part of the Jim Carrey flick "Bruce Almighty." One of the things that stuck out to me was that when Morgan Freeman, who plays God in the film, gives Bruce (Carrey) his powers, one of the conditions he gives for using them is that 'you can't violate anyone's free will.' I didn't get to see the rest of the movie to see how that theme plays out, but I think its a humorous and somewhat accurate caricature of how most Americans see God. God is a benevolent old man, with great powers, but He doesn't dare transgress our free will. So apparently 'free will' is greater than God.

I thank God that He is not bound or limited by our 'will', nor does He wait for us to take the initiative before He acts. Thank God that He did not consult us first before decided upon His course of salvation for us in sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross. And I thank God that He did not leave it up to my 'free will' (or lack thereof) before He chose me by His grace (John 15:16) and saved me in the waters of baptism. A god that is subordinate to human 'free will' is not a god I would want to worship. But the Triune God of the Scriptures is no such thing. Truly God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is worthy of all worship for bringing salvation to humanity despite all the sinful opposition of our human wills.