Forward this issue to a Friend 

Join Our Mailing List Like us on Facebook

Psalm 99


The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! The King in his might loves justice.You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the LORD, and he answered them. In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them. O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy! (ESV)





Full of Christ

Monday of Epiphany 5

9 February 2015

Life is complicated. God's Word is not. The problem comes when life and God's Word meet. Humans are not simple creatures; we are frightfully complicated primarily because we are caught between Eden and the end. We Christians are stuck in the conflict between heaven and hell, the cross and self-will, the old Adam and the new Adam, and freedom and fear. All of these tensions cut across the whole person and bring struggles to us; body and soul. No, there is nothing simple here.


Our penchant for simplification where none is possible is exposed by John Chrysostom's understanding of Rm 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." John thought this passage applied to Christians and pagans alike, both in time and at the final judgment, but for differing purposes and goals. These differences are attributable to the complexity of the human condition after the fall. God's wrath falls on all persons but unto widely divergent results. Temporal disasters, while they may be expressions of the divine wrath against sin and a groaning of nature under the curse of the fall, bring quite different lessons to the believer and the unbeliever. The believer sees such things as salutary chastisements, so that he is driven to God for His gracious care. The unbeliever reacts to such suffering the way an animal does; by fleeing its affects and by howling against the suffering unto very little benefit. Ironically, this may also include blaming the very same God in whom he declines to believe. It is a sign in the world of the ultimate judgment which will bring the outer darkness where there will be nothing but weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 22:13).


We Christians suffer God's wrath in time in order that we might be led ever and again to Christ. We are crushed by the experience of divine wrath, but for us it is not ultimate; for the unbeliever it is. We are crushed that we might see that the One who was crushed for us was crushed for our iniquities. Christ withstood the full force of divine wrath, that we might not be crushed by it in the end. We face the chastisement of the law in faith, confessing that His chastisement brought us peace. He suffered the ultimate penalty of the law: estrangement from His Father, that we might never be estranged from His Father. The cross and all its gifts seem all the sweeter and more gracious when we know what they rescue us from. Life under the cross is not simple, but it is full of Christ. It has to be.


John Chrysostom


"Christ came to bring forgiveness, righteousness, and life, yet not in just any way, but through the cross. It is great and wonderful that He not only gave such things to us but that He also suffered the things of the cross. If you insolently scorn these gifts, then the penalties will await you. See how Paul raises his language, 'For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven' (Rm 1:18). How does this manifest itself? If it is a believer who asks this, we will tell him of the declarations of Christ. However, if he is an unbeliever, Paul silences him, by what he is about to say concerning the judgment of God, bringing an incontrovertible demonstration from the things which were done by them. This is his most striking point by far. He demonstrates that those who speak against the truth bear witness to the doctrines of the truth by the things which they daily do and say. But, this comes later.


"For the present, let us keep to what is set before us: 'For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven' (Rm 1:18). This often takes place in famines, pestilences and wars, through which each individually and all together are punished. What will be the new thing then (on judgment day)? The chastisement will be greater, and common to all, and not for the same purposes. What takes place now is for correction; but at the end for vengeance. St. Paul showed this when he said: 'When we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world' (1Co 11:32). Now indeed many such things seem to come not of the wrath from above, but through the malice of man. But then the punishment from God will be manifested, when the Judge sits upon the fearful tribunal."


John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 3



Lord Jesus Christ, You have borne the burden of the law and God's holy wrath that we might never face its ultimate penalties. Help us to see the law as a chastisement and discipline toward righteousness. Grant that we might experience the divine wrath in faith, never despairing but ever confessing your goodness and grace. Amen.


For the Council of Presidents of the LCMS meeting this week, that the Lord would give them courage and wisdom


For all Lutheran teachers, especially those serving at Memorial Lutheran School, that the Lord would equip them for their labor


For Paul Lodholz as he undergoes chemotherapy, that the Lord and overseer of all souls would bring him healing

Art: AERTSEN, Pieter  Adoration of the Magi (c. 1560)


Find me on Facebook                                                                               © Scott R. Murray, 2015

Forward email

This email was sent to by |  

Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057