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For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling, and you said, "No! We will flee upon horses"; therefore you shall flee away; and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. (ESV) 










What It Costs God

Monday of Christmas 2

5 January 2014

Many objections to the particular teachings of the Christian Church begin with the words, "Couldn't God have...?" The answer to such objections is a simple: "Yes!" However, it is one thing to argue that God could have done thus and so; it is an entirely different thing to argue that God did actually do this or that. Couldn't God just have overlooked our sin or repaired our liability to death and corruption with a wink and a nod. Yes. He could have done exactly this without any personal involvement in the solution to our corruption. Our heavenly Father chooses not to. He will not take the easy way or the impersonal way out, even if we think it is superior to the way He actually chose. He is willing to get dirty in a broken world to repair the corruption caused by the Fall. He is willing to take our flesh that in taking it, it might be restored.


Humans, of course, incited the problem of sin and brought corruption on humanity by having a better idea than the original plan God had for them. Didn't Adam really say something like, "Wouldn't it be better if we could be gods in our own right? Couldn't God have conferred on us that blessing? Yes, of course He could have and should have." But instead of seeking the Lord's will in that, he chose his own will. With baleful results. Adam sought immortality in his own way; when the Lord had already conferred on him immortality and a unique personal relationship with Him beside. How did that work out for Adam then? Not so well. For us? Ditto.


However, our heavenly Father would not leave us in this corrupt state, nor would he fix it without paying the price. What would a costless salvation be worth to us? As a pastor, I am sometimes asked for advice about all manner of human issues, many of them unrelated to my training and expertise. Sometimes people ask for financial or legal advice. The advice I give them is worth what the questioners pay for it. Nothing. No one should put a great deal of stock in my expertise. God chooses not save us in a way that costs Him nothing. If He saved us with the wink and the nod, then we would question the value or the seriousness of our salvation. We might wonder what the big deal was that we need to be saved at such miniscule expense. What are we being saved from so cheaply? While salvation is free to us (this is what grace is); it is not free to God. Our heavenly Father is serious about saving us and is willing to put His only begotten Son on the line for us. A very real incarnation brings a very real salvation. And we should have no "woulda, coulda, shoulda" doubts about it. Look at what it costs God!


Leontius Byzantinus


"When God formed man at the beginning, He suspended the things of nature on [Adam's] will, and made an experiment by means of one command (Gn 2:16-17). For He ordained that, if he kept this command, he should partake of immortal existence; but if he transgressed it, the contrary would be his lot. Man having been thus made, and immediately looking towards transgression, naturally became subject to corruption. Corruption then becoming inherent in nature, it was necessary that He who wished to save us should be one who destroyed the efficient cause of corruption. And this could not otherwise be done than by the life which is according to nature being united to that which had received the corruption, and so destroying the corruption, while preserving as immortal for the future that which had received it. It was therefore necessary that the Word should become possessed of a body, that He might deliver us from the death of natural corruption. For if, as the Gentiles say, He had simply by a nod warded off death from us, death indeed would not have approached us on account of the expression of His will; but nonetheless would we again have become corruptible, inasmuch as we carried about in ourselves that natural corruption."


Leontius Byzantinus, Against the Eutychians, 2



Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ended and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come.  In this new year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


For the Concordia Theological Seminary Kantorei that they would be kept safe during their Epiphany tour


For the family of Juanita Duffala, that they would grieve as those who have hope in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come


For Samuel Phelps, that the Lord Jesus would grant him a full recovery of health and strength


For all those who have suffered personal losses in 2014, that they would remain confident of the mercy of the Lord

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Nativity c. 1515

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