Summary: Protect people from being robbed of God’s grace - by teaching Christ crucified
Pentecost 9 7/29/2007
† In the Lord’s Name †
May the grace and peace, of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, be yours, and may you treasure it always.
It may surprise some of you, but it is recorded in the annals of history, indeed in his own words, that Martin Luther had a bit of a temper. At least, in his writings, there is evidence of such, as he spitefully, and some would claim with great hatred addresses both the pope and leaders of the Catholic Church, and often, the religious leaders of the Jewish Communities in Germany, and in some cases, protestant leaders like Kaarlstaadt or Zwingli.
His words were venomous, and have in days since, been used to justify great evils towards people, including the horrors of the Russian pogroms, and the holocaust.
I do not want to justify what Martin Luther said, some of it was over the top, and taken out of the context of his life, is easily used to justify evil behavior, by Christians, and non-Christians alike. I did seek to understand why he said what he said, and what I see there, is a shepherd’s heart, nearly broken as people fell under the power of philosophies, and traditions of mankind, that would steal from them the one, most incredible thing that Martin Luther had encountered.
The Love-filled grace of God.
Those that would rob people seeking that grace, that they be made rich, or famous, or so that they could build cathedrals – would infuriate Luther. As would those that deny it, saying only pure obedience to the law would bring peace with God, or that the grace of God was only for certain people, and not available to all.
Basically – try to separate God and His people, by denying the grace given to them in Christ, and delivered to them by word and sacrament, and he would respond, as if there was nothing more evil that a person could do.
Though I might not advise people to burn down the houses of those who would steal people away from the presence of God, I agree – those who do such, are as evil as Satan. In today’s epistle passage, we see Paul’s words against being the victims of such people, as they try to manipulate us away from God in Christ, and away from Grace.
What has been received…
The Fullness of God in Christ
Which dwells in us!
Sin and stuff cut away, and nailed it to the cross!
Joined in death and new life in baptism
Our incredible passage today, urges us to walk in Christ, even as we received Him, in it’s very first verse. That is one of the two main thrusts of the passage, to help us realize how we received Him, and what that means. The other thrust of the passage is to treasure walking in Him, and to be on guard against those who would lead us away from the incredible grace! So let’s first look at what we receive in Christ, that we may realize why it is such a great treasure.
As the passage begins to describe Jesus, it uses the following phrase,
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
How incredible, that this man, who walked out planet, even as we do, was indeed the fullness of God, the very being and image of God. Not just a vision, nor a holy man; but God, was here amongst His people; living and breathing, eating and sleeping, working and bathing. This is the Jesus who has been given all rule and authority over all the universe! Paul claims that this is the Jesus who fills us; whose Holy Spirit indwells our bodies in the same manner as the father dwells in the temple!
It goes on, to compare the work of God in our lives to a circumcision, not a physical one, but a spiritual cleansing, where all that is not Godly, is carefully and with great precision, removed from lives by God. It is summed up well, in verse , 31 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
The passage describes it well again, using the description of our baptism. Saying it joins us to Christ’s death, and we trust, we have faith that God’s incredible power is at work giving us life, real life, abundant life, life with him.
This is what Paul doesn’t want Christians to let others steal from us, and those that attempt to steal or charge for grace, Luther considered as evil as any demon!