Such a Transfer!
Friday of Pentecost 19
30 September 2016
A transfer is almost always something we do, such as when you transfer schools or from bus route to bus route. We transfer our anger about ourselves onto others. Transference occurs when a drunken husband is angry with his wife when she has a couple of glasses of wine. We call this hypocrisy.
But not all transference is done by us or is hypocritical. Our Lord Jesus is the actor when He transfers His righteousness to us and He takes our sin upon Him. All the evils that plague us are taken up by Christ so that they are no longer ours. How could we humans ever fully plumb the depths of this love of God; a love so great that it yearns to take up our filth and give to us His righteousness? We humans easily understand the ways of politics, power, ethics, and law. "Do this and you will live." Yes, that we understand. But we cannot fully comprehend with human reason this love that transfers to itself our sin and dies for it. Even the angelic host wonders at mysteries of such love. Who could describe such a transfer?

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"This is a very powerful passage (Gal 3:13-14), one that is filled with comfort. It satisfies us, who are Christians, who have been baptized, and who have accepted this doctrine. And it draws the powerful conclusion that through the curse, sin, and death of Christ we are blessed, that is, justified and made alive. So long as sin, death, and the curse remain in us, sin damns us, death kills us, and the curse curses us; but when these things are transferred to Christ, what is ours becomes His and what is His becomes ours. Let us learn, therefore, in every temptation to transfer sin, death, the curse, and all the evils that oppress us from ourselves to Christ, and, on the other hand, to transfer righteousness, life, and blessing from Him to us. For He does in fact bear all our evils, because God the Father, as Isaiah says, 'has laid the iniquity of us all on HIM' (Is 53:6). And He willingly took them upon Himself. For He was not guilty; but He did this in order to do the Father's will, by which we would be sanctified eternally.
"This is the indescribable and infinite mercy of God which Paul would like to spread abroad with an enthusiastic and generous flow of words; but the human heart is too limited to comprehend, much less to describe, the great depths and burning passion of divine love toward us. Indeed, the very greatness of divine mercy produces not only difficulty in believing but incredulity. Not only do I hear that God Almighty, the Creator of all, is good and merciful; but I hear that the Supreme Majesty cared so much for me, a condemned sinner and a child of wrath (Eph 2:3) and of eternal death, that He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up into a most shameful death (Rm 8:32), in order that He might hang in the midst of thieves and become sin and a curse for me, the sinner and accursed one, and in order that I might be made righteous, blessed, and a son and heir of God. Who can adequately proclaim this goodness of God? Not even all the angels. Therefore, Holy Scripture speaks about other things than a political, philosophical, or even a Mosaic book; it speaks about the indescribable and utterly divine gifts that surpass not only all human and angelic understanding (Phil 4:7) but everything else as well."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 3.13
Psalm 85

LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. (ESV)
Lord Jesus Christ, You have taken my sin and transferred Your holiness to me by faith. Keep me in that love which cannot be fully grasped by human reason. Send Your Holy Spirit that through His comfort I might know what human reason cannot comprehend and be comprehended by what cannot be known. Amen.

For the men of Memorial Lutheran Church as they retreat at Camp Lone Star under the leadership of Robert Bennett, that all would grow in faith and understanding
For James Baneck as he travels to Houston to preach at Memorial Lutheran church on Sunday, that the holy angels would watch over his ways
For all those traveling to Germany on the Steps of Martin Luther Tour, that the Lord would give them joy and insight into His grace as they learn more about Luther and the Lutheran Reformation together
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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