Forward this issue to a Friend 

Join Our Mailing List Like us on Facebook
 
John 6:51-58

 
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
 
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." (ESV)
Real Flesh
Wednesday After Pentecost
18 May 2016
When I was a child, I occasionally attempted to avoid brushing my teeth. However, it was necessary that the tooth brush should appear used. So I wet the tooth brush and placed it back in the holder, so that if my mother checked up on me after I claimed that I brushed my teeth, she would see that the toothbrush was wet and assume that I had used it. What good was it for me to wet the toothbrush? None. It only appeared that I had used it and like all deviousness it required more effort than honesty. Unremarkably, it wasn't long until my mother understood the difference between appearance and reality, and I learned the hard way to brush my teeth.
 
Christ took our humanity into God, so that by taking our flesh He might cleanse it from the sin with which, from the fall of Adam, all human flesh has been infected. If He only appears to be human, as the Gnostics falsely say, then our sin only appears to be cleansed, not truly taken away. What good is a cleansing that is unreal? It is as useful as a wet tooth brush that never finds its way into a naughty child's mouth.
 
A real cleansing of my human nature in Christ is what works all. The Gnostic heresy that Jesus only appears human is the theological equivalent of wetting the toothbrush and then lying to mother about brushing our teeth. It is theologically devious, because it deprives us of the God who cleanses us from all sin through the incarnation.

 

Tertullian

"We publicly recite our belief (in the Creed), that the flesh of Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven; and we further declare that Christ in the flesh will come again from thence in all the pomp of the Father's glory. It is therefore just as impossible for us to say that His flesh is abolished, as it is for us to maintain that it is sinful, and so made void, since in it there has been no guilt. We maintain, moreover, that what has been abolished in Christ is not 'sinful flesh,' but 'sin in the flesh,'-not the material thing, but its condition; not the substance, but its guilt.
 
"This we claim on the authority of the apostle, who says, 'He abolished sin in the flesh' (Rm 8:3). Now in another sentence he says that Christ was 'in the likeness of sinful flesh,' not, however, as if He had taken on Him 'the likeness of the flesh,' in the sense of a semblance of body instead of its reality. But he means us to understand likeness to the flesh which sinned, because the flesh of Christ, which committed no sin itself, resembled that which had sinned,-resembled it in its nature, but not in the corruption it received from Adam; from which we also affirm that there was in Christ the same flesh as that whose nature in man is sinful.
 
"In the flesh, therefore, we say that sin has been abolished, because in Christ that same flesh is maintained without sin, which in Adam was not maintained without sin. Now, it would not contribute to the purpose of Christ's abolishing sin in the flesh, if He did not abolish it in that flesh in which was the nature of sin, nor would it be to His glory. For surely it would have been a strange thing if He had removed the stain of sin in some better flesh, and one which should possess a different, even a sinless, nature! Then, you say, if He took our flesh, Christ's was a sinful one. Do not, however, fetter with mystery a sense which is quite intelligible. For in putting on our flesh, He made it His own; in making it His own, He made it sinless."

Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ, 16
 
Prayer
O Christ, made flesh of Mary, grant that I might see in You my flesh cleansed by Your perfect holiness. Amen.
 
For Simbo Argaw Kabeta, whom the Lord brought into His kingdom through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, that she would be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church
 
For William Heine, that the Lord would grant him healing and a recovery of strength
 
For all those who are seeking work in a God-given vocation, that they might find useful labor serving others for God's sake
Art: DYCK, Anthony van  Pentecost (1618-1620)

Find me on Facebook                                                                                      © Scott R. Murray, 2016 

 
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Sent by smurray@mlchouston.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact