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1 Corinthians 2:6-16


Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him" - these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.


The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (ESV)



Anything Else is Deadly


9 October 2014

Only the article of justification can strengthen us in the midst of persecution and trouble. However, we are easily distracted from it like "Dug" the dog in the PIXAR movie "Up" that is completely set off the trail when someone shouts, "squirrel!" When someone shouts, "good works," we seem to lose track of the merit of Christ, or "missions" we focus on what we are doing instead of what God's only Son has done and is still doing for our salvation. Without Christ and His work as the head and living center of our theology none of these emphases are anything but distractions from the evangelical truth.


It is also easy to be distracted by our suffering or persecution. Like the man who tries to plow by keeping his eyes immediately in front of the tractor, those who can only look upon the immediate crises and efforts will plow a meandering furrow. We need to lift up our eyes to look upon the cross and Christ's sacrificial death upon it. Our perspective needs to be changed so that we look upon Calvary's hill, from which comes our help. When we are weak and suffering our focus cannot be on ourselves, but must be directed to Christ. Otherwise we will fall back into the law and fret that our salvation really stands upon our own shoulders. This is hardest when we are suffering persecution because we can begin to believe that there is something that we have done to deserve this mistreatment or abuse from the world. Then we begin to try to fix things ourselves. That is the beginning of a catastrophic problem, like the man who tries to perform do-it-yourself surgery by taking out his own appendix to save money. Some things are best left to someone else to do. Ask any doctor.


Salvation is like that. It is not self-performed. The minute we try to get ourselves out of trouble the more trouble we get into. Often God lets us dangle to prove to us that He has everything under control. Yes, He takes care of things when we have given up hope in ourselves. When we have chased enough squirrels and are exhausted, He saves. When we have learned that do-it-yourself salvation is only a painful mistake, He brings rescue. Where there is only death, He gives life. This is why we need the article of justification so desperately. Anything else is deadly.


Martin Luther

"We are not disturbed when our opponents are offended and shout that nothing good will come from the preaching of the gospel. They are faithless, blind, and obstinate; therefore it is impossible for them to see any of the fruit of the gospel. On the other hand, we who believe see the enormous and innumerable benefits and results of the gospel (although outwardly and for a time we are oppressed by infinite evils, despised, despoiled, slandered, condemned, the refuse of all things [1Co 4:13], put to death, and inwardly crushed by the consciousness of our sin and vexed by demons). For we live in Christ, in whom and through whom we are kings and lords over sin, death, the flesh, the world, hell, and every evil; through Him we tread underfoot that dragon and basilisk who is the king of sin and death. How? In faith. For our good has not yet been revealed. But meanwhile we expect it patiently and yet already possess it certainly through faith.


"Therefore the article of justification must be learned diligently. It alone can strengthen us against those endless offenses and console us in all trials and persecutions. For we see that it cannot be otherwise than that the world should be offended by the teaching of godliness and continually cry that nothing good will come of it. 'The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God' (1Co 2:14). He only sees the external troubles, the upheavals of things, rebellion, slaughters, sects, etc. He is offended by these sights, becomes blind, and falls into contempt and blasphemy of the Word."


Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 4.29

Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


For Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS, that the Lord would give him the strength and courage to continue to proclaim the gospel in all its sweetness and consolation


For those who are caring for elderly parents, that they would be granted wisdom and that the Lord would strengthen them in their labors


For the faculty and staff of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, that they would faithfully share the Lutheran confession with their students 
Art: Crucifixes  Uppsala Cathedral (medieval)

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