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Archive for July 2016

Healing of the Wounds

Sermon at Divine Shepherd Bolingbrook, IL.  July 31, 2016
 Video

TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY  Jeremiah 8:4–12

Jeremiah 8:11 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

If you have a headache, would you go to the doctor to have your lag put into a cast? No, you need the proper treatment, for the problem. In our Old Testament reading for today we see God declaring through Jeremiah that they have healed the wound of my people lightly.  Using today’s terms Medical malpractice.  They applied the wrong treatment to the problem.

So what was the wound and what is the proper treatment?  The answer, what does Scripture say, we use the phrase, “Scripture interprets Scripture.”  Does God through Jeremiah explain this?  God does a bit later in Jeremiah

Jeremiah 30:12 (ESV) 12  “For thus says the Lord: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous.

Incurable and Grievous, sounds like a terminal condition, with no hope.  One can see why the people would be saying peace peace when there is no peace.  They didn’t have the cure.  There was nothing they could do, except to make the people comfortable.

But as God noted, they applied the wrong treatment.  They failed to realize what God said 5 verses later.

Jeremiah 30:17a (ESV) 17  For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord…

Oops, they missed it, or they purposely avoided God’s method of treatment.  What is God’s treatment, from another prophet around the time of Jeremiah, Isaiah, who is speaking about the coming savior Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV) 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

We look to the wounds of Christ, that we are healed. Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  Christ’s wounds bring the healing that we need the restoration of the fellowship with God. Christ suffers to bring the healing that we need.

But how does one receive the healing from Christ’s wounds?

Returning back to  the 8th chapter of Jeremiah

Jeremiah 8:21  For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.22  Is there no balm in Gilead?Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?

Is there no balm in Gilead? Balm that healing medicine.  You can hear God crying in anguish, here is the healing balm, why are you not using it?  Because our denial is great. IF we really our wounds, we will also realize that some of our wounds are self-inflicted. To realize our sins, our self-inclicted wounds, would mean that we are truly at fault.

Martin Luther notes in his Large Catechism regarding Confession

No one needs to drive you to confession by commanding it. Rather, we say this: Whoever is a Christian, or would like to be one, has here the reliable advice to go and obtain this precious treasure. If you are not a Christian, and desire no such comfort, we shall leave you to another’s power.

Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (p. 478). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Is there a balm in Gilead? Yes, but do you want it?  The people of Jeremiah’s times were not wanting to use the healing balm.  They would rather seek the comfort of the world, instead of what God would bring.

Even today when I mentioned the word confession a few minutes ago, some people may become anxious.  Why, well confession, means that we have something to confess. We live in a society where people don’t want to admit they were wrong, or say that they are sinful. As J.K.Rowling in the Order of the Phoenix notes, “there some wounds run too deep for the healing.” This may be true for humanity, but through Christ, who is true man and true God, there is healing.

So we confess our sins as we did at the beginning of our Liturgy, noting that we need the healing which only Christ can give.

Christ gives His wounded body to us

Matthew 26:26–28 (ESV)26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

There it is Christ wounded body for the forgives of our sins.

And we need this healing balm as Martin Luther notes:

Therefore the Lord’s Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger. For the new life should be one that continually develops and progresses. But it has to suffer a great deal of opposition… For times like these, when our heart feels too sorely pressed, this comfort of the Lord’s Supper is given to bring us new strength and refreshment.

Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (p. 469). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

But do we really want Christ’s healing, or a prefer denial, an artificial peace.

Jeremiah 17:14 (ESV) 14  Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.

 

Where is Christ, He is in the healing WORD and Sacraments for you, bring you true and everlasting peace. Amen.

 

 Video

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Written by dballa

July 30, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Against the Antinomians

Antinomianism. The view that Christians are free of all moral law (Christian Cyclopedia)

Against the Antinomians   1539   Translated by Martin H. Bertram

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 47: The Christian in Society IV. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 47, p. 99). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Quotes:

I assume that you received some time ago a copy of the disputations against the new spirits who have dared to expel the law of God or the Ten Commandments from the church and to assign them to city hall. I never expected that such false spirituality would occur to the mind of man, much less that anyone would support it. However, God warns us through such instances to be on our guard and not to assume that the devil is as far from us as these secure, impudent spirits suppose. p.107

It is most surprising to me that anyone can claim that I reject the law or the Ten Commandments, since there is available, in more than one edition, my exposition of the Ten Commandments, which furthermore are daily preached and practiced in our churches. p.109

To be sure, I did teach, and still teach, that sinners shall be stirred to repentance through the preaching or the contemplation of the passion of Christ, so that they might see the enormity of God’s wrath over sin, and learn that there is no other remedy for this than the death of God’s Son…. It is the message of all of Christendom, of all the prophets and apostles. p.110

When Isaiah 53 [:8] declares that God has “stricken him for the transgression of my people,” tell me, my dear fellow, does this proclamation of Christ’s suffering and of his being stricken for our sin imply that the law is cast away? What does this expression, “for the transgression of my people,” mean? Does it not mean “because my people sinned against my law and did not keep my law”? Or does anyone imagine that there can be sin where there is no law? p.110

But the devil devotes himself to making men secure, teaching them to heed neither law nor sin, so that if sometime they are suddenly overtaken by death or by a bad conscience, they have grown so accustomed to nothing but sweet security that they sink helplessly into hell. For they have learned to perceive nothing in Christ but sweet security. p.111

“He feeds the hungry so that they rejoice, and sends the rich empty away. He humbles the mighty and exalts the lowly, and his grace is with those who fear him” [Luke 1:50–53]. If the Magnificat speaks the truth, then God must be the foe of the secure spirits who are unafraid, as such spirits who do away with law and sin are sure to be. p.111

Therefore I ask you, dear Doctor, to keep to the pure doctrine as you have always done. Preach that sinners must be roused to repentance not only by the sweet grace and suffering of Christ, by the message that he died for us, but also by the terrors of the law. p.111

Dear God, should it be unbearable that the holy church confesses itself a sinner, believes in the forgiveness of sins, and asks for remission of sin in the Lord’s Prayer? How can one know what sin is without the law and conscience? And how will we learn what Christ is, what he did for us, if we do not know what the law is that he fulfilled for us and what sin is, for which he made satisfaction? p.112-113

Romans 1:18 (ESV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

They have devised for themselves a new method whereby one is to preach grace first and then the revelation of wrath. The word “law” is not to be heard or spoken. This is a nice little toy from which they derive much pleasure. They claim they can fit the entire Scripture into this pattern and thus they become the light of the world. That is the meaning they foist on St. Paul in Romans 1 [:18]. But they fail to see that he teaches just the opposite. p.114

  • First he calls attention to the wrath of God from heaven and makes all the world sinners and guilty before God
  •  then, after they have become sinners, he teaches them how to obtain mercy and be justified.

It also reflected extraordinary arrogance and presumption that they wanted to unearth something novel and uncommon, so that people would say, “I really believe that he is a great man, a second Paul.” Why should those in Wittenberg have a monopoly on wisdom? I, too, have a brain, etc. Yes, of course you have a brain, but one that is bent on its own honor and that exposes itself to ridicule with its wisdom. p.115

A thousand years ago you and I were nothing, and yet the church was preserved at that time without us. He who is called “who was” and “yesterday” had to accomplish this. Even during our lifetime we are not the church’s guardians. It is not preserved by us, for we are unable to drive off the devil in the persons of the pope, the sects, and evil men. If it were up to us, the church would perish before our very eyes, and we together with it (as we experience daily). For it is another Man who obviously preserves both the church and us. He does this so plainly that we could touch and feel it, if we did not want to believe it. We must leave this to him who is called “who is” and “today.” Likewise we will contribute nothing toward the preservation of the church after our death. He who is called “who is to come” and “forever” will accomplish it. p.118

Psalm 124:1–8 (ESV) If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—let Israel now say—  if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us,  then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;  then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;  then over us would have gone the raging waters.  Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!  We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!  Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

It is a tragic thing that there are so many examples before us of those who thought they had to preserve the church, as though it were built on them. In the end they perished miserably. p.118

But this is enough of such lamentations. May our dear Lord Christ be and remain our dear Lord Christ, praised forever. Amen. p.119

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 47: The Christian in Society IV. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 47, p. 119). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

 

 

Written by dballa

July 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A Sincere Admonition by Martin Luther to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion

A Sincere Admonition by Martin Luther to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion

1522

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 45, p. 51). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

 

Quotes:

For the common man seems to be discontented and brooding over the damage he has suffered in property, body, and soul. p.57

in Psalm 36, “Their iniquity is made manifest, that men may hate them”; and in Psalm 14, “They tremble for fear, where there is no fear”; and again in Proverbs 27 [28:1], “The wicked flee when no one pursues”; and yet again in Leviticus 26[:36], “The sound of a rustling leaf shall terrify them”; and finally in Deuteronomy 28[:65–67], “God will give you a trembling heart, that your life shall hang in doubt before you. In the morning you shall say, ‘Would God that I may survive until evening’; and at evening you shall say, ‘Would God that i may survive until morning’!” p.58

Proverbs 28:1 (ESV) The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Leviticus 26:36 (ESV) And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues.

Deuteronomy 28:65–67 (ESV) And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see.

When once lying is recognized as such, it needs no second stroke; it falls of itself and vanishes in shame. That is the meaning of Psalm 10[:15], “Only seek out his wickedness, and his godlessness is no more.” It needs only to be sought out and recognized. p.60

As I have just said, these texts have convinced me that the ….[insert the great evil]….will not be destroyed by the hand of men, or by insurrection. Their wickedness is so horrible that no punishment is adequate except the wrath of God itself, without any intermediary. p.61

They should, of course, take action, each prince and lord in his own territory, by virtue of the obligations incumbent upon such duly constituted authority; for what is done by duly constituted authority cannot be regarded as insurrection. p.61

But we must calm the mind of the common man, and tell him to abstain from the words and even the passions which lead to insurrection, and to do nothing in the matter apart from a command of his superiors or an action of the authorities. p.62

First, as has been said, the threats of violence will not be implemented. All that men are saying and thinking on the subject is nothing but idle chatter and vain imagining. p.62

Second, even if insurrection were a practical possibility, and God were willing to impose so merciful a punishment upon them, it is still an unprofitable method of procedure. It never brings about the desired improvement. For insurrection lacks discernment; it generally harms the innocent more than the guilty. Hence, no insurrection is ever right, no matter how right the cause it seeks to promote. It always results in more damage than improvement, and verifies the saying, “Things go from bad to worse.”p.62-63

Therefore, keep your eye on the authorities; so long as they make no move and issue no instructions, you just keep hand, mouth, and heart quiet, and assume no responsibility. p.63

If you start anything on your own hook you are already in the wrong, and are much worse than your opponents. I am and always will be on the side of those against whom insurrection is directed, no matter how unjust their cause; I am opposed to those who rise in insurrection, no matter how just their cause, because there can be no insurrection without hurting the innocent and shedding their blood.p.63

Third, God has forbidden insurrection, where he speaks through Moses, “Quod iustum est, iuste exequaris; Thou shalt follow justly after that which is just,” and again, “Revenge is mine; I will repay.”16 Hence we have the true proverb, “He who strikes back is in the wrong,” and again, “No one can be his own judge.18 Now insurrection is nothing else than being one’s own judge and avenger, and that is something God cannot tolerate. Therefore, insurrection cannot help but make matters much worse, because it is contrary to God; God is not on the side of insurrection.p.63

Fourth, in this particular case insurrection is most certainly a suggestion of the devil.p.63-64

Those who read and rightly understand my teaching will not start an insurrection; they have not learned that from me. p.65

Suppose you ask, “What are we to do if the authorities are unwilling to act? Are we to continue to put up with it and encourage their wantonness?”

I answer: You are to do nothing of the kind. There are three things you should do.

  • First, you are to acknowledge your own sins, because of which the strict justice of God has plagued you with this anti-Christian regime, as St. Paul foretold in II Thessalonians 2[:11, 10], “God sends upon them false teaching and government because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”
  • Second. You should in all humility pray against…
  • Third. You are to let your mouth become such a mouth of the Spirit of Christ as St. Paul speaks of in the text quoted above, “Our Lord Jesus will slay him with the mouth of his Spirit.” …For he must first be slain with words; the mouth of Christ must do it.p.66-67

Get busy now; spread the holy gospel, and help others spread it; teach, speak, write, and preach … rather tell them that a Christian life consists of faith and love.p.68

I ask that men make no reference to my name; let them call themselves Christians, not Lutherans. What is Luther? After all, the teaching is not mine [John 7:16]. Neither was I crucified for anyone [I Cor. 1:13]. St. Paul, in I Corinthians 3,  would not allow the Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian. How then should I—poor stinking maggot-fodder that I am—come to have men call the children of Christ by my wretched name? p.70

If you want to handle the gospel in a Christian way, you must take into account the people to whom you are speaking. These are of two kinds. On the one hand, there are those who are hardened and will not listen, and who, in addition, deceive and poison others with their lying mouths. p.71

You should not deal with them at all, but hold to the injunction of Christ in Matthew 7[:6], “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and the dogs turn to attack you.” p.71

On the other hand, there are some who have heretofore not yet heard the gospel, and who would be willing to learn if someone would tell it to them, or who are so weak that they cannot readily grasp it. These you should not bully or beat up, but instruct in a kindly and gentle manner, giving them a defense and explanation.p.71

 

Let this suffice for the present as a renewed admonition to guard against insurrection and giving offense, so that we ourselves may not be the agents for the desecration of God’s holy word. Amen.

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 45, p. 74). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

 

 

Written by dballa

July 16, 2016 at 8:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

EXPOSITION OF PSALM 127

EXPOSITION OF PSALM 127, FOR THE CHRISTIANS AT RIGA IN LIVONIA

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 45, p. 311). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Quotes from Luther:

I selected this psalm because it so beautifully turns the heart away from covetousness and concern for temporal livelihood and possessions toward faith in God, and in a few words teaches us how Christians are to act with respect to the accumulation and ownership of this world’s goods. p.317

Matthew 13:22 (ESV)  As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

I will not even mention the sums expended on spices, silks, gold, jewels, and similar vanities; yes, and what is squandered on beer and wine. When you lump all these together, such a town throws far more than a thousand gulden down the drain every year. p.319

But when they are asked to contribute one or two hundred gulden toward good schools and pulpits, they cry, “You would reduce us to rags and make beggars of us! We would have nothing left”; then covetousness and concern for livelihood take over, and the people think they will die of hunger. p.319

But what will God finally say about this?

Proverbs 10:24 (ESV) What the wicked dreads will come upon him,but the desire of the righteous will be granted.

Those whom we should be securing at whatever expense even from the ends of the earth, we are supporting about as well as the rich man supported poor Lazarus [Luke 16:19–21]. Now we find it impossible to support three upright, learned, married preachers p.320

Nobody can tell us anything. So God in turn will stop up his ears too and refuse to listen. p. 320

Psalm 127:1 (ESV) Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

First we must understand that “building the house” does not refer simply to the construction of walls and roof, rooms and chambers, out of wood and stone. It refers rather to everything that goes on inside the house, which in German we call “managing the household” p.322

Reason and the world think that married life and the making of a home ought to proceed as they intend; they try to determine things by their own decisions and actions, as if their work could take care of everything. To this Solomon says No! He points us instead to God, and teaches us with a firm faith to seek and expect all such things from God. p.323

This passage alone should be enough to attract people to marriage, comfort all who are now married, and sap the strength of covetousness. p.324

Why should we think it strange that it takes so much to make a home where God is not the head of the house? Because you do not see Him who is supposed to fill the house, naturally every corner must seem empty. But if you look upon Him, you will never notice whether a comer is bare; everything will appear to you to be full, and will indeed be full. And if it is not full, it is your vision which is at fault; just as it is the blind man’s fault if he fails to see the sun. p.324

All this is because God wants the glory, as the one who alone gives the growth. p.325

Solomon here wishes to sanction work, but to reject worry and covetousness. He does not say, “The Lord builds the house, so no one need labor at it.” He does say, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” p.325

Proverbs 10:4 (ESV) A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

God wills that man should work, and without work He will give him nothing. Conversely, God will not give him anything because of his labor, but solely out of His own goodness and blessing. p.326

Psalm 147:9 (ESV)  He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.

Psalm 145:15–16 (ESV)  The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.  You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Similarly, man must necessarily work and busy himself at something. At the same time, however, he must know that it is something other than his labor which furnishes him sustenance; it is the divine blessing. p326

You labor in vain when you labor for the purpose of sustaining yourself and building your own house. Indeed, you make for yourself a lot of worry, and trouble. At the same time by such arrogance and wicked unbelief you kindle God’s wrath, so that you only become all the poorer and are mined completely because you undertook to do what is his alone to do. p.327

Psalm 127:1b (ESV)

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Now the blind world, because it does not know God and his work, concludes that it is owing to its own cleverness, reason, and strength that a community or dominion endures and thrives. p.328

Meanwhile, God sits above and watches how cleverly and boldly the children of men proceed, and he causes the psalmist to sing in his praise. p. 328

Psalm 33:10 (ESV)  The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.

Psalm 94:11 (ESV)  the Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

As they gained a brief ascendancy, through human wit and arrogance, so much the more quickly did they fall again; not because they lacked manpower, money, goods, and all manner of resources, but because the true watchman had ceased to uphold them, and caused them to see what human wit and power could accomplish without his watchful care and protection. p. 329

Soldiers, too. acknowledge that victory does not depend on the numbers or strength of the army, but, as they say, on luck. But Scripture says it depends on God. p. 329

Psalm 24:8 (ESV) Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!

Psalm 147:10–11 (ESV) His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (ESV) 11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge…

Thus, by this verse Solomon would briefly instruct all kings, princes, councilmen, and everyone in authority how to conduct and maintain a good, peaceful, and blessed government which functions well.

  • In the first place, they should be watchful and diligent in the performance of their official duties.
  • In the second place, he wants them in faith to entrust such watchful care to God and let him worry about how the watching is to be done, so they do not arrogantly presume that their own solicitude and diligence preserves the city, but are assured that God will preserve the city and protect land and people. p. 330

One of two things must necessarily follow when we rely on our own watchfulness: either arrogance or worry. p.330

We should neither worry when we are insecure, nor be proud when we are secure, but in free and true faith do our watching and perform the duties of our calling. We should no more be anxious when things go wrong than be proud when things go well. p.330

Now none but a believing heart acts in this way. p.330

Psalm 3:6 (ESV) I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

Psalm 44:6–8 (ESV)  For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.

Why, then, does he urge us to labor and watch, and want us to have walls, armor, and all manner of supplies, just as he commanded the children of Israel to put on their armor and fight against the Canaanites? Are we to provide no supplies, leave our gates and windows open, make no effort to defend ourselves but allow ourselves to be pierced through and become lifeless corpses … By no means. p.331

 

In general, they should proceed as if there were no God and they had to rescue themselves and manage their own affairs; just as the head of a household is supposed to work as if he were trying to sustain himself by his own labors.

But he must watch out that his heart does not come to rely on these deeds of his, and get arrogant when things go well or worried when things go wrong.p.331

Psalm 127:2 (ESV)  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

 

This whole verse [Ps. 127:2] is directed against arrogance and anxiety, as if he were to say: It is futile for you to rise up early and go to bed late, and think that the more you labor the more you will have. p.332

Psalm 37:16 (ESV)  Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.

Proverbs 15:17 (ESV)  Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

He who has faith in God, however, is not anxious about tomorrow but is content with today. p.332

Psalm 55:22 (ESV) Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

Psalm 127:3 (ESV)  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

All of this is spoken in typical Hebrew fashion. “Heritage from the Lord” and “reward” are one and the same thing, just as “children” and “fruit of the womb” are one and the same thing. Thus it means to say: What good does it do you to be so deeply concerned and anxious about how to procure and protect your possessions? Why even children, and whatever is born of woman, are not within your power; although they are a part of household and city alike, for if there were no children and “fruit of the womb” neither household nor city would endure. So the very reward and “heritage from the Lord,” about which you are so terribly anxious, are actually the gift and boon of God. p.333

Matthew 6:25 (ESV) “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Psalm 127:4 (ESV) Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

Thus, we also see how God deals with us. Just look at how amazingly he matches husband and wife, in a way no one would expect; and how they attain to extraordinary stations in life for which they have not striven, so that men marvel at it. Generally, things turn out quite differently from what father, and mother, and even the person himself, had envisioned.p.334

His whole purpose is to check and take from us the whole matter of our governing and caring for ourselves, in order that we may know it is he himself who alone rules over us and cares for us, and so lets us go about our business and do our work. p.335

 Psalm 127:5 (ESV)  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

He desires that such youth, given by God, and recognized as such, may be many, for then the world would be well off. That is very true. If all manner of problems are to be dealt with successfully, then the young people who are to live and govern on this earth after us must be trained and guided accordingly.p.336

Such a great blessing however, will not be without persecution, for where things go according to God’s will there must also be onslaughts of the devil. The unbelief and covetousness of this world cannot tolerate godly life and teaching; therefore, such householders and cities will not be without enemies to revile and abuse them. p.336

He mentions no armor or weapons but only the word, saying that “they will speak with their enemies in the gate,” as if to say: By their teaching they will stand, because it is true, no matter how sharply their opponents attack it. p.336

 

 

For if we are still so weak that we cannot leave off worrying about the needs of our bellies, how shall we be able to bear the world’s fury, death, opprobrium, and all other misfortune? Yes, how shall we stand firm when the false spirits come upon us, who just now are beginning to rise?

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 45, pp. 336–337). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

 

 

Written by dballa

July 9, 2016 at 8:00 am

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THE ESTATE OF MARRIAGE

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THE ESTATE OF MARRIAGE

Summary from Dr. Martin Luther

My introduction:  I will begin a revew of Luther’s “The Estate if Marriage.” I figured that it is about time I review this document. August will be the 30th anniversary of my own wedding vows, so I guess it is about time that I learn what marrage is all about.

So here are some quotes from “The Estate of Marriage@ from Luther

Part One

Wow: Luther’s opening words, could he envision what we would be facing in today’s world:

In the first part we shall consider which persons may enter into marriage with one another. In order to proceed aright let us direct our attention to Genesis 1[:27], “So God created man … male and female he created them.” From this passage we may be assured that God divided mankind into two classes, namely, male and female, or a he and a she.

Therefore, each one of us must have the kind of body God has created for us. I cannot make myself a woman, nor can you make yourself a man; we do not have that power. But we are exactly as he created us: I a man and you a woman.

The man is not to despise or scoff at the woman or her body, nor the woman the man. But each should honor the other’s image and body as a divine and good creation that is well-pleasing unto God himself.

 

In the second place, after God had made man and woman he blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply” [Gen. 1:28]. From this passage we may be assured that man and woman should and must come together in order to multiply.

In the third place, from this ordinance of creation God has himself exempted three categories of men, saying in Matthew 19[:12], “There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Apart from these three groups, let no man presume to be without a spouse. And whoever does not fail within one of these three categories should not consider anything except the estate of marriage.

There is a real tough part from Luther with a couple struggling with infertility.  I will by-pass this section for now, but return to it later.

In the fourth place, let us now consider which persons may enter into marriage with one another, so that you may see it is not my pleasure or desire that a marriage be broken and husband and wife separated.

The following Impediments, seems to be things that the Roman Church was advocating as grounds for annulment (at a cost, of course), that Luther discusses. I will only quote a few.

The first impediment is blood relationship. Here they have forbidden marriage up to the third and fourth degrees of consanguinity.

I will now list for you the persons whom God has forbidden, Leviticus 18[:6–13], namely, my mother, my stepmother; my sister, my stepsister; my child’s daughter or stepdaughter; my father’s sister; my mother’s sister. I am forbidden to marry any of these persons.

Further, I may marry the daughter of my brother or sister, just as Abraham married Sarah.

For Tamar, Absalom’s sister, thought she could have married her stepbrother Amnon, II Samuel 13[:13].

The second impediment is affinity or relationship through marriage. Here too they have set up four degrees, so that after my wife’s death I may not marry into her blood relationship, where my marriage extends up to the third and fourth degrees—unless money comes to my rescue! But God has forbidden only these persons, namely, my father’s brother’s wife; my son’s wife; my brother’s wife; my stepdaughter; the child of my stepson or stepdaughter; my wife’s sister while my wife is yet alive [Lev. 18:14–18]. I may not marry any of these persons; but I may marry any others, and without putting up any money for the privilege.

The ninth impediment is error, as if I had been wed to Catherine but Barbara lay down with me, as happened to Jacob with Leah and Rachel [Gen. 29:23–25].  Note: What did Jacob do?

 

The twelfth impediment is coercion, that is, when I have to take Grete to be my wife and am coerced into it either by parents or by governmental authority. That is to be sure no marriage in the sight of God.

There are still four more impediments, such as episcopal prohibition, restricted times, custom, and defective eyesight and hearing. It is needless to discuss them here. It is a dirty rotten business that a bishop should forbid me a wife or specify the times when I may marry, or that a blind and dumb person should not be allowed to enter into wedlock. So much then for this foolishness at present in the first part.

 

Part Two

In the second part, we shall consider which persons may be divorced. I know of three grounds for divorce. The first, which has just been mentioned and was discussed above, is the situation in which the husband or wife is not equipped for marriage because of bodily or natural deficiencies of any sort. Of this enough has already been said.

 

The second ground is adultery.

Thus it is that on the grounds of adultery one person may leave the other, as Solomon also says in Proverbs 18, “He that keepeth an adulteress is a fool.”31 We have an example of this in Joseph too. In Matthew 1[:19] the gospel writer praises him as just because he did not put his wife to shame when he found that she was with child, but was minded to divorce her quietly.

You may ask: What is to become of the other [the guilty party] if he too is perhaps unable to lead a chaste life? Answer: It was for this reason that God commanded in the law [Deut. 22:22–24] that adulterers be stoned, that they might not have to face this question.

 

The third case for divorce is that in which one of the parties deprives and avoids the other, refusing to fulfil the conjugal duty or to live with the other person.

For example, one finds many a stubborn wife like that who will not give in, and who cares not a whit whether her husband falls into the sin of unchastity ten times over. Here it is time for the husband to say, “If you will not, another will; the maid will come if the wife will not.”34 Only first the husband should admonish and warn his wife two or three times, and let the situation be known to others so that her stubbornness becomes a matter of common knowledge and is rebuked before the congregation. If she still refuses, get rid of her; take an Esther and let Vashti go, as King Ahasuerus did [Esther 1:12–2:17].

 

Solomon complains much in the Proverbs about such wives, and says he has found a woman more bitter than death [Eccles. 7:26]. One may also find a rude, brutal, and unbearable husband.

 

Here the proverb applies, “He who wants a fire must endure the smoke.”

What about a situation where one’s wife is an invalid and has therefore become incapable of fulfilling the conjugal duty? May he not take another to wife? By no means. Let him serve the Lord in the person of the invalid and await His good pleasure.

 

Part Three

In the third part, in order that we may say something about the estate of marriage which will be conducive toward the soul’s salvation, we shall now consider how to live a Christian and godly life in that estate.

 

That is what it means to find a wife. Many have wives, but few find wives. Why? They are blind; they fail to see that their life and conduct with their wives is the work of God and pleasing in his sight. Could they but find that

 

We err in that we judge the work of God according to our own feelings, and regard not his will but our own desire.

 

when a father goes ahead and washes diapers or performs some other mean task for his child, and someone ridicules him as an effeminate fool—though that father is acting in the spirit just described and in Christian faith—my dear fellow you tell me, which of the two is most keenly ridiculing the other? God, with all his angels and creatures, is smiling—not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.

I say these things in order that we may learn how honorable a thing it is to live in that estate which God has ordained.

Solomon even congratulates such a man and says in Proverbs 5[:18], “Rejoice in the wife of your youth,” and again in Ecclesiastes 11 [9:9], “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life.”

Small wonder that married folk for the most part experience little but bitterness and anguish. They have no knowledge of God’s word and will concerning their estate,

St. Paul tempers his words nicely when he says, I Corinthians 7[:28], “Those who marry will have worldly troubles,” that is, outward bitterness.

No one can have real happiness in marriage who does not recognize in firm faith that this estate together with all its works, however insignificant, is pleasing to God and precious in his sight.

The first reason is that fornication destroys not only the soul but also body, property, honor, and family as well.

 

Some, however, have given the matter thought and so learned from their own experience that they have coined an excellent proverb, “Early to rise and early to wed; that should no one ever regret.”

The estate of marriage, however, redounds to the benefit not alone of the body, property, honor, and soul of an individual, but also to the benefit of whole cities and countries, in that they remain exempt from the plagues imposed by God.

Many think they can evade marriage by having their fling  for a time, and then becoming righteous. My dear fellow, if one in a thousand succeeds in this, that would be doing very well. He who intends to lead a chaste life had better begin early, and attain it not with but without fornication, either by the grace of God or through marriage.

 

But the greatest good in married life, that which makes all suffering and labor worth while, is that God grants offspring and commands that they be brought up to worship and serve him.

Finally, we have before us one big, strong objection to answer. Yes, they say, it would be a fine thing to be married, but how will I support myself?

What shall I say to this objection? It shows lack of faith and doubt of God’s goodness and truth.

 

They want to be lazy, greedy rascals who do not need to work. Therefore, they will get married only if they can get wives who are rich, beautiful, pious, kind—indeed, wait, we’ll have a picture of them drawn for you.
Let such heathen go their way; we will not argue with them.

 

God has promised in Matthew 6[:25, 33], “Do not be anxious about what you shall eat, drink, and put on; seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

To sum the matter up: whoever finds himself unsuited to the celibate life should see to it right away that he has something to do and to work at; then let him strike out in God’s name and get married.

Let God worry about how they and their children are to be fed. God makes children; he will surely also feed them.

Should he fail to exalt you and them here on earth, then take satisfaction in the fact that he has granted you a Christian marriage, and know that he will exalt you there; and be thankful to him for his gifts and favors.

Intercourse is never without sin; but God excuses it by his grace because the estate of marriage is his work, and he preserves in and through the sin all that good which he has implanted and blessed in marriage.

Written by dballa

July 2, 2016 at 7:52 am

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