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1 Peter 2:2-11

 
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (ESV)
Dependence on God
Friday of Easter 5
29 April 2016
While discussing predestination and election with a Texas Lutheran, whose ancestors were Calvinistic Baptists, he mentioned that when he asked his grandfather how he knew he was among the elect his grandfather replied, "We run this here county, don't we?" They knew they were among the elect because of their power, political influence, and affluence. By that standard our Lord Jesus Christ Himself would not have been among the elect. He didn't run much of anything by worldly standards.
 
Jesus permits Himself to be subject to the rulers and the authorities of Caesar's realm (Mt 22:21) while living in earthly poverty saying, "The Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Mt 8:20). Jesus had no external guarantees of the authority that was rightly His. He too lives by faith in the word and promises of His heavenly Father. If we judge Jesus by the external criteria of worldly affluence and power He will be a miserable and failed God, a poor Calvinist indeed. In fact, in this thinking wouldn't "poor Calvinist" be an oxymoron?
 
Christ makes his dwelling among those who are poor in spirit and brings to them His glorious kingdom whether they live in hovels as He did, or in the halls of power as some early converts to the church did (Phil 4:22). He never appears to "run this here world" (Jn 18:36), instead He depends completely on the word of promise from His Father (Mt 11:27). That's all that remains to us if we are truly His disciples. No one can understand this except through the miracle of faith given by the Holy Spirit.

 

Martin Luther

"Look at the promise which Christ appends [to spiritual poverty] when He says, 'For of such is the kingdom of heaven.' This is certainly a great, wonderful, and glorious promise. Because we are willing to be poor here and pay no attention to temporal goods, we are to have a beautiful, glorious, great, and eternal possession in heaven. And because you have given up a crumb, which you still may use as long and as much as you can have it, you are to receive a crown, to be a citizen and a lord in heaven. This would motivate us if we really wanted to be Christians and if we believed that His words are true. But no one cares who is saying this, much less what He is saying. They let it go in one ear and out the other, so that no one troubles himself about it or takes it to heart.
 
"With these words He shows that no one can understand this unless he is already a real Christian. This point and all the rest that follow are purely fruits of faith, which the Holy Spirit Himself must create in the heart. Where there is no faith, there the kingdom of heaven also will remain outside; nor will spiritual poverty, meekness, and the like follow, but there will remain only scratching and scraping, quarrels and riots over temporal goods. Therefore it is all over for such worldly hearts, so that they never learn or experience what spiritual poverty is, and neither believe nor care what He says and promises about the kingdom of heaven."

Martin Luther,  Sermon on the Sermon on the Mount, 5.3
 
Prayer
O Lord, help me to live in the world as though I had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. Let me live as You did, confident of the promises of our heavenly Father, never in possession of them, but always captured by them. Amen.
 
For Charles Wokoma and other missionaries and teachers in Africa, that they would be faithful to the teaching of the Bible
 
For those who have been enslaved to their possessions, that they might be freed from obedience to these miserable gods by the Lord who gives true freedom
 
For nurses, doctors, and all health care providers, that they would be upheld in their primary mission to bring care and never to harm those suffering from bodily disease
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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