A Guarantee You Can Depend On
Monday of Pentecost 7
24 July 2017
The enemy's guarantee had a short shelf life. He promised, "You will not surely die when you eat of the fruit." Only a millennium of suffering preceded the breach of promise. Adam and Eve did surely die. We, their children, inherit their weakness, although it usually only takes the blink of a century to receive our breach of promise from the gleeful enemy. The natural body created to live in an en-souled harmony with the Creator forever, has become subject to the enemy's false guarantee. Sin worked death in us. Mortality has been sown into the creation originally made death-less by the Creator. 

Some years I toured the cemetery in the church yard of the parish church founded by my paternal grandmother's family in rural Ontario. Three families were buried in that church yard; burial plots were assigned by date. Death had its way with my family. And their remains were neatly laid out. Cemeteries sprout tombstones in well-ordered rows, in case we are unclear on the concept. Perhaps there is already cold granite or a brass marker with our name inscribed upon it. All that is lacking is a terminal date. You will surely die.
 
We reside in bodies already dead because of sin. However, the God who created the body does not abandon it to the infection of sin. The body was fully renovated in the incarnation of the Son of God in Mary. The infection was now cast out being fully absorbed into Him who was truly death-less. Not only was the infection felled in the incarnation of the Son, but the antidote to death was also passed on to us through His incorruptible life. Christ is the life-giving spirit who, as the second Adam, remakes us. The first Adam passed on corruption. The second Adam passed on life. Only the second Adam (Lk 3:38) could remake the first.
 
At the resurrection of the flesh our bodies will be remade after the likeness of the second Adam. There will be an embodied life at the resurrection. There will not be a body-less spirituality, which doctrine is really an intrusion into Christianity from Plato, the Greek philosopher. Ironically, Augustine was heavily influenced by the Neoplatonic thinking prevalent in his time, and yet he goes out of his way to reflect properly the fully en-fleshed nature of the bodily resurrection taught by Scripture. The fact of the Creed still stands, "I believe in the resurrection of the body," no matter how much human reason might ridicule the concept of the resurrection of the flesh. We look forward to the bodily resurrection because Jesus promised. That's a guarantee you can count on.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo

"Although we understand that this manifest death, which consists in the separation of soul and body, was also signified by God when He said, 'In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die' (Gn 2:17), it ought not on that account seem absurd that they were not dismissed from the body on that very day on which they took the forbidden and death-bringing fruit. For certainly on that very day their nature was altered for the worse and weakened, and by their most just banishment from the tree of life they were involved in the necessity even of bodily death, in which necessity we are born. Therefore, the apostle does not say, 'The body indeed is doomed to die on account of sin,' but he says, 'The body is dead because of sin.' Then he adds, 'If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you' (Rm 8:10-11). Then accordingly shall the body become a quickening spirit that is now a living soul. Yet the apostle calls it 'dead,' because already it lies under the necessity of dying. But in Paradise it was so made a living soul, though not a quickening spirit, that it could not properly be called dead. For save through the commission of sin, it could not come under the power of death.
 
"The apostle states that the first man was made a natural body. For, wishing to distinguish the natural body which now is from the spiritual, which is to be in the resurrection, he says, 'What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body' (1Co 15:42-44). Then, to prove this, he goes on, 'If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body' (1Co 15:44). And to show what the animated body is, he says, 'Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being;' the last Adam became a life-giving spirit' (1Co 15:45). He wished thus to show what the animated body is, though Scripture did not say of the first man Adam, when his soul was created by the breath of God, 'Man was made in an animated body,' but 'Man became a living creature' (Gn 2:7). By these words, therefore, 'The first man was made a living being,' the apostle wishes man's animated body to be understood. But how he wishes the spiritual body to be understood he shows when he adds, 'The last Adam became a life-giving spirit,' plainly referring to Christ, who has so risen from the dead that He cannot die any more. He then goes on to say, 'But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual' (1Co 15:46). And here he much more clearly asserts that he referred to the natural body when he said that the first man was made a living soul, and to the spiritual when he said that the last man was made a quickening spirit. The natural body is the first, being such as the first Adam had, and which would not have died had he not sinned, being such also as we now have, its nature being changed and vitiated by sin to the extent of bringing us under the necessity of death, and being such as even Christ condescended first of all to assume, not indeed of necessity, but of choice; but afterwards comes the spiritual body, which already is worn by way of anticipation by Christ as our head, and will be worn by His members in the resurrection of the dead."

Augustine, The City of God, 13.23
Colossians 2:11-23
 
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
 
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
 
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations- "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)- according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
(ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, second Adam born of Mary, You have remade our humanity by rescuing us from the penalty of death. The verdict "dead" has been passed upon us. Make us alive again in the verdict of life spoken by the holy gospel, that we might look forward to the bodily life like Yours when You shall raise us by Your voice. Amen.
 
For those who are suffering from inclement weather, that they would be rescued from peril of body

For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that he would find relief and recovery from back pain
 
For military chaplains, especially Maj. Donald Ehrke (US Army), that they would be upheld in every good deed and proclaim Christ to those who walk in the shadow of death
 
For Susan Narr, that she would have confidence in Christ alone

For the family of John Kochanuk, whom the Lord Jesus took to Himself, that they would be comforted by the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come
Art: Albrecht DURER,  The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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