Necessary for Us
Friday of Pentecost 18
23 September 2016
"What He has not assumed He has not healed," was the principle enunciated in regard to the relationship of the human and divine natures in Christ by Gregory Nazianzen. His point was that a faulty doctrine of the incarnation will not merely rip apart the two natures in Christ, but call into question the completeness of the redemption that Christ has won for sinners like us.
 
It was necessary that Christ be man to heal human sin. It was necessary for Christ to be God so that He would have the power to do what human flesh alone could not do. Sometimes people mock this kind of speech saying that nothing is necessary for God. Nothing binds Him. Couldn't God have found some other way of saving the world from its sin than through the incarnation of Christ of Mary? Well, yes. But He didn't. The necessity, then, is really ours. It is necessary that God should save us. Either Christ saves us by taking our flesh and as the God-Man redeeming us, or we are thrown upon our own paltry spiritual resources to be saved. What He did assume He did heal. That was necessary for us.
 
God's own way of saving us is the right way of saving us, because it is God's. It sounds silly for us to complain that God's way of saving us isn't up to our own standards. It is a sin that brings us to the transgression of the first commandment. We are forgetting who God is and that we are not. But this is the character of unbelief. It always undermines God's self-revelation, rejecting God's ways and denying that God could do what He promises. Such blasphemy against God has become extremely common in our day where even churches that claim to be Christian no longer preach Christ, but all of the latest cultural fads and -isms. There is no longer any deep reverence or amazement at the passion of God who takes on our sin in the flesh of His Son that we might be saved to Him forever. This salvation is only possible where Christ is truly and fully the son of God; God born of Mary for us poor sinners. Who God is and what he does are absolutely inseparable. If he is God for us, then He can save us. If he cannot save us all by Himself, then He is not God, either for us or for anyone else. We are damned and yet in our sins. Yet His Word clearly says that He is God; God for us; God who bears our flesh and returns it to us in pristine condition made holy through His suffering and death. His divinity can carry the weight to save us. It is absolutely necessary for us that God should become man.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"This circumstance, 'in Himself,' makes the duel more amazing and outstanding; for it shows that such great things were to be achieved in the one and only person of Christ-namely, that the curse, sin, and death were to be destroyed, and that the blessing, righteousness, and life were to replace them-and that through Him the whole creation was to be changed. If you look at this person, therefore, you see sin, death, the wrath of God, hell, the devil, and all evils conquered and put to death. To the extent that Christ rules by His grace in the hearts of the faithful, there is no sin, death, or curse. But where Christ is not known, there these things remain. And so all who do not believe lack this blessing and this victory. 'For this,' as John says, 'is our victory, faith' (1Jn 5:4).
 
"This is the chief topic of Christian doctrine. The legalists have completely obliterated it, and today the fanatics are obscuring it once more. Here you see how necessary it is to believe and confess the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. When Arius denied this, it was necessary also for him to deny the doctrine of redemption. For to conquer the sin of the world, death, the curse, and the wrath of God in Himself, this is the work, not of any creature but of the divine power. Therefore, it was necessary that He who was to conquer these in Himself should be true God by nature. For in opposition to this mighty power: sin, death, and the curse, which of itself reigns in the whole world and in the whole creation, it is necessary to set an even higher power, which cannot be found and does not exist apart from the divine power. Therefore, to abolish sin, to destroy death, to bear away the curse in Himself, to grant righteousness, to bring life to light (2Ti 1:10), and to bring the blessing in Himself, that is, to turn into nothing these things and to create those, all these are works solely of the divine power. Since Scripture attributes all these to Christ, therefore He Himself is life, righteousness, and blessing, that is, God by nature and in essence. Hence those who deny the divinity of Christ lose all Christianity and become Gentiles and Turks through and through.
 
"As I often warn, therefore, the topic of justification must be learned diligently. For in it are included all the other articles of our faith; and if it is safe, all the others are safe as well. Therefore when we teach that men are justified through Christ and that Christ is the Victor over sin, death, and the eternal curse, we are testifying at the same time that He is God by nature."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 3.13
Psalm 6

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD-how long?
 
Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
 
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.  My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
 
Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.  All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. (ESV)
Prayer
O Christ, You took my flesh to redeem it and heal it. Grant that I might ever live in the healing home of Your church until I inherit the home where I shall live free from every wound. Amen.
 
For James Hollowach, that the Lord of the church be with him as he undergoes cancer therapy, that he would have strength and receive healing
 
For Carlos Broughton, who has suffered health reverses, that he would regain his strength
 
For all church musicians, especially Cantor Janet Muth, that they would find joy and fulfillment in leading the church in God's new song
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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