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Titus 1:1-9

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;
 
To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
 
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you- if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (ESV)

Cursed

St. Titus, Pastor and Confessor

26 January 2016

We are squeamish about attributing the curse of Galatians 3:13 to Christ. He became a curse for us, that we might be free from the threat of the law and the guilt of our sin. If He does not become a curse for us then we are still in our sins and under the curse of the law.
 
When I was a child, I thought as a child. As a child, I aspired to save Christ from the suffering and death that He bore. I imagined swooping into the trial of Jesus before Pilate and rescuing Jesus from the horrible fate that He faced. I really thought that I should be able to be the savior of Christ. Only when I grew older did it become clear to me that if I saved the Savior, I would not be saved. I had changed roles, becoming a god to the Lord. This child's piety is not just innocent and immature imagination, but a sign of the inborn sin, by which we desire to become our own saviors, shattering the first commandment. How horrible to imagine that it would be good, or even possible, to save Jesus. No, he must be cursed, be the sinner, and placed under the law that in Him I might be rescued from the curse and have divine righteousness.
 
We do not need to be saving Him, but He us. This is why Luther argues that if we take the curse off of Jesus because of our moral squeamishness, we will need to bear a burden which will crush us; a burden which neither we nor our fathers could bear. It "un-gods" God by revoking His will and taking away what He freely and gladly determined to suffer and do for us. We cry out with a pious-seeming, "O Lord, may it never be! Please, do not suffer this for me, I am not worth it! I can handle things myself. Not on my account! Oh, please Lord, not for me!" But God's determination and divine will to save the world through just this suffering and death of Christ is precisely on my account and for me. He must be a curse if I am to be saved. We must not argue with God here. He says the Son of God is cursed for us.

 

Martin Luther

"But it is highly absurd and insulting to call the Son of God a sinner and a curse!' If you want to deny that He is a sinner and a curse, then deny also that He suffered, was crucified, and died. For it is no less absurd to say, as our Creed confesses and prays, that the Son of God was crucified and underwent the torments of sin and death than it is to say that He is a sinner or a curse. But if it is not absurd to confess and believe that Christ was crucified between thieves, then it is not absurd to say as well that He was a curse and a sinner of sinners. Surely these words of Paul are not without purpose: 'Christ became a curse for us' and 'For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God' (2Co 5:21).
 
"In the same way John the Baptist called Christ 'the Lamb of God' (Jn 1:29). He is, of course, innocent, because He is the Lamb of God without spot or blemish. But because He bears the sins of the world, His innocence is pressed down with the sins and the guilt of the entire world. Whatever sins I, you, and all of us have committed or may commit in the future, they are as much Christ's own as if He Himself had committed them. In short, our sin must be Christ's own sin, or we shall perish eternally."

 
Prayer
Lord Christ, You have rescued me from the curse and guilt of sin through becoming my curse. Give me the courage every day to live freely in this faith and knowledge. Slay within me the self-deifying impulse that rises from my heart that "un-gods" You, so that I would ever acknowledge You as the One cursed for me. Amen.

For Gilbert Lamberson, who is suffering from Leukemia, that the Lord Jesus would give him strength and courage

For Charles Wokoma, who is laboring as a seminary teacher in Nigeria, that the Lord of the church would grant fruit to his labors

For those still suffering from inclement weather, that they would be kept safe
Art: SPEECKAERT, Hans Conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus (1570-77)

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