Killing God
Wednesday of Advent 3
14 December 2016
Martin Luther had the insight that those under the law and who do not know the gospel of Jesus Christ hate God and desire in their heart of hearts to kill God. In fact, unbelief is deicide (murder of God). The writer to the Hebrews is warning us against this when he writes of those who have abandoned the Christian faith and confession, "they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt" (Heb 6:6). What an enormous irony that unbelief should attempt to do what God has already willingly suffered! What is the use of killing the God who has been killed? This is carrying theological coals to Newcastle.
 
The foolish (Ps 14:1) and impossible impiety of deicide uncovers the total bankruptcy of unbelief. We think we can jostle our busy selves into heaven, and elbowing ourselves into God's affairs, we point out to Him His errors and failings. We know we could certainly run His heavenly business far better than He does. We are angry at the God who is killed and so we want to, uh, kill Him. We think He is foolish for dying and so we pronounce Him dead. We treat Him as though He is a politician in a democracy in which every voter thinks he could run the affairs of state far better than the politician, "If only I could be president, I would show those people up there in Washington how things should be run!" Uh huh. Thankfully, in a democracy there is that little inconvenience of getting elected that thwarts our desire to become emperor.
 
No such barrier seems to bar the way to killing God. Everybody thinks that they can just waltz into heaven and replace God. "And after all, my religion is as good as God's religion. My opinion is as good as His opinion. It is my God-given right to have my own opinion. And it is my opinion that God needs my help desperately." Yeah, right. Unbelieving help is just what our heavenly Father has too little of. Hilary of Poitiers also targets this impiety of helping God with the works of His power. We would make such a mess of it (and do in the small realm of our own sphere). All that is left to us is to look upon the Word of God and criticize it. We are such bold critics. We know exactly how the ditch needs to be dug until someone hands us a shovel.
 
The irony of the whole story is that Christ has long ago swallowed our criticism and absorbed into His own flesh our killing desire. He has not ignored our hatred of Him, but forgiven it by dying for it.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"The whole constitution of nature would bear us out against the impiety of doubting the works and powers of God. And yet our disbelief tilts even against obvious truth; we strive in our fury to pluck even God from His throne. If we could, we would climb by bodily strength to heaven, would fling into confusion the ordered courses of sun and stars, would disarrange the ebb and flow of tides, check rivers at their source or make their waters flow backward, would shake the foundations of the world, in the utter irreverence of our rage against the paternal work of God. It is well that our bodily limitations confine us within more modest bounds. Assuredly, there is no concealment of the mischief we would do if we could. In one respect we are free; and so with blasphemous insolence we distort the truth and turn our weapons against the words of God." 

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 3.21
Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (ESV)
Prayer
O Lord, thank You for rescuing me from that towering pride that second guesses Your plan to save the world through absorption of my killing desire into Yourself. Amen.
 
For Brooke Randolph, that God the Lord would be with her strengthening her in body and soul following knee surgery
 
For Interim Principal, Darrell Schepmann, and faculty of Memorial Lutheran School, that they would be upheld in the office of teacher by Christ who makes disciples
 
For Bill Heine, that the Lord Jesus Christ would be his strength and stay
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
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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