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Psalm 51:1-17
 
Have mercy on me,O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a rightspirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
(ESV)
The Law Always Accuses
Friday after the the Baptism of our Lord
15 January 2016
If we look deeply into the law, we will see just how godly we are. The law in its divinely-ordained depth always accuses. The law points out the weakness that adheres to our flesh. We are divided from our true selves, separated both from our heavenly Father by the fall and disunited from ourselves because we are not what God created us to be. Because we do not share the full fellowship that God intended us to have with Him, we do not realize our full humanity. Who we are, our self-understanding, our status over against other persons, is defined by our creation by God. The law points out the profound fissure between us and God and the divisions that will always remain among all other humans until the end of this present evil age.
 
The law is spiritual. We are fleshly. Our fleshly nature puts us at odds with the holy law, its Author and His creation. So, no matter how hard we try (do we?), we will always feel the crushing weight of God's law and the wrath that comes upon us through it. The burden cuts clean through us: body and soul, flesh and spirit, heart and mind. There is no place free from the accusation. We must not whine in the midst of our sin, pleading "at least my heart is clean, because it is full of good intentions," and so on. Even though God demands holiness of heart and life and body, we will not attain that holiness in this life.
 
The only man fully justified in God's sight was God's only Son from heaven who was also the man that never boasted of His goodness in the sight of God, but lived in a perfectly harmonious fellowship with His ever-begetting Father. Only when covered by the righteousness of that man do we see what real harmony and fellowship with God are, for by faith in Him He grants it to us as our own. The commandments can show us our sin and filth and we can see just how godly we really are (oh, dear), because we have a Lord who also shows us the true way of fellowship with God through Him.

 

Martin Luther

"We allow the ninth and tenth commandments to remain in their ordinary meaning. It is commanded, first, that we do not desire our neighbors harm, nor even assist, nor give opportunity for it. But we must gladly wish and leave him what he has. Also, we must advance and preserve for him what may be for his profit and service, just as we wish to be treated (Mt 7:12). So these commandments are especially directed against envy and miserable greed. God wants to remove all causes and sources from which arise everything by which we harm our neighbor. Therefore, He expresses it in plain words, 'You shall not covet,' and so on. For He especially wants us to have a pure heart (Mt 5:8), although we will never attain to that as long as we live here. So this commandment will remain, like all the rest, one that will constantly accuse us and show how godly we are in God's sight!" 

 
Prayer
O God, create in me a pure heart and a steadfast spirit. Amen.
 
For all those who are facing surgery, that God the Lord would guard and keep them
 
For African missionary, Charles Wokoma, that the Lord of the harvest would give fruit to his labors and keep him safe in His caring hand
 
For police and other public safety workers, that they would be safe in their calling to restrain evil and punish wickedness
Art: AERTSEN, Pieter  Adoration of the Magi (c. 1560)

 

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