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Matthew

21:33-46

 

[Jesus said:] "Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."

 

Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "' The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."

 

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. (ESV)

God Is True

Robert Barnes, Confessor and Matryr 

30 July 2015

Luther is often accused of being a spiritual anarchist because of his doctrine of law and gospel. This is because he said such radical things about the place of the law in the life of the Christian, as a Christian. Quite simply the law has no place in the life of the Christian when considered from the perspective of the gospel. He says that the law has no jurisdiction over us when we are in Christ and that the law does not apply to us at all, etc. (Lectures on Galatians, passim). However, Luther is not alone in his radicalism. John Chrysostom plainly teaches a similar doctrine, although he cannot articulate the distinction between Law and Gospel in the same way that Lutherans do. Yet, he's quite clear that the law has no place in the article of salvation. We are freed from the curse of the law and its dominion, not by our own efforts or works, that by the work of Jesus Christ. Christ has not come to redeem the law but to redeem poor sinners from it. He fulfilled the law not to renovate it, but to give renewal and new life to those who cannot fulfill it. He fulfilled the law that it might be fulfilled for you and in your place.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ places Himself under the law with all of its burdens and requirements purposely to fulfill the law in our place. What we could not do because of our weakness under the law, He did. In that way, the promise given by God to His people of old, and abrogated by them in every possible way, was conferred upon us in its perfect completeness in the person and work of Christ. In this way, God is seen to be truthful, because He fulfills His promises to us; always despite our unworthiness. This is how God both is and appears to be righteous in the world (Rm 3:26). We break our promises continually (watch out for vows!). He never goes back on His promise. He always keeps His promise; even if it costs Him His own precious Son.

 

God's fulfillment of his promise is always dependent upon Him; never upon us. If he were dependent upon us, that would make it eternally and absolutely contingent. The law is about contingency. The gospel is about God's certainty for our sake in the work of Christ. We must not and cannot cling to the law, nor should we spend our time bickering over it and about it. The gospel is the message that alone saves. This is because God is true. And us? Not so much.

 

John Chrysostom

 

"'For I tell you that Christ became a servant of circumcision to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy' (Rm 15:8-9). To prevent both Jews and Gentiles whom Paul has accused from saying, 'Why did Christ need to be circumcised and to keep the whole Law?' He turns their argument to the opposite conclusion. For Christ came not that the law might continue, but that He might put an end to it, and free you from its curse, and entirely free you from the dominion of that law. For it was because you transgressed the law that He fulfilled it, not that you might fulfill it, but that He might confirm to you the promises made to the patriarchs, which the law had caused to be suspended, by showing you that you have offended and are unworthy of the inheritance. And so you also are saved by grace, since you were cast off. So why bicker and perversely cling to the law at this unsuitable time, since it would have cast you also out of the promise, except that Christ suffered so many things for you. And He did suffer these, not because you deserved salvation, but that God might be true.  


John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 28.1
 
Prayer

Dear Lord Christ, you have fulfilled the law, that we might be freed from its curse and dominion over us. Send Your Holy Spirit to us, that we might live in faith toward You, always confident of our status as the forgiven children of God who have received the gift of your righteousness. Amen.

 

For Lloyd Wittenmyer, that the Lord Jesus Christ would watch over him and grant recovery in accordance with His gracious will

 

For President Matt and Kathy Harrison, whose home suffered a fire yesterday, that they would put their hope in the God who promises them a home not made with hands as they recover their earthly dwelling

 

For Sandra Stohlhandske, as she continues to undergo therapy, that the Lord Jesus would grant her strength and healing

 

For all those working to expose Planned Parenthood's efforts to sell infant body parts, that we would show concern for children in the womb and protect them from dismemberment

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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