Disorder
Monday in Pentecost 19
16 October 2017
Original sin is no insignificant fault. It is a deep, abiding, and pervasive perversion of human nature. The Bible gives us some idea how tragic the fall and its outcome are by portraying our first parents in their pristine and perfect condition, in perfect harmony with their Creator. When fellowship with Him was intact, their whole lives were oriented to a perfect relationship with Him. Adam and Eve had absolute free will that was always freely conformed to the will of God in service to each other.
 
Our first parents had complete command over themselves in heart, body, and mind; and over their environment. They shared with God in the righteousness with which He created them. The loss of this righteousness is so deep we no longer fathom it, but we feel it deeply in our inability to master ourselves. There is a power of perversity lurking within us that runs away with us and we can only recognize it and lament it later. We fail to master ourselves into the shape of the divine law, which we were created to obey effortlessly in an elegant harmony with the divine will. Now we don't. For this we grieve. We are not as we ought to be. We suffer from "disorder." Lord, have mercy.
 
We have lost the image of God, for now we are born after another image (Gn 5:3). The image of God only begins to be returned to us in Christ (Col 3:10) and will finally only completely be restored in the kingdom to come. For that we hope most fervently. 


Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Chemnitz

"Man was created in the image of God, which consisted in conformity with the norm of righteousness in God, which was revealed by the divine law, namely, that in the entire mind, the whole heart, the complete will, in all members of the body and capacities of the soul, the powers should be entirely whole and perfect for the knowledge and love of God and thereafter of the neighbor, according to the pronouncement of the divine law: 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself' (Lk 10:27).
                 
"Without any 'disorder' of corruption and rebellion, namely without darkness in the mind, aversion in the will, stubbornness in the heart, and corruption in the remaining powers, human nature was most pure and most holy at the first creation according to the last commandment: 'You shall not covet,' as St. Paul interpreted in Rm 7:7-12. That is what the image of God and man was, as the restitution of the image which is begun in this life through the Holy Spirit and is completed in eternal life sufficiently shows (Rm 12; Eph 4:17-32; Col 3:2-25, etc.).

"This image or conformity to the norm of righteousness in God the divine law requires of all people in the first and last commandment. Where it does not find this, it convicts humans of sin, which condemns to eternal death unless remission is made on account of Christ the Mediator. Now indeed, not only do the sacred writings teach, but also experience shows, that in those born from male seed there is a loss of divine light in the mind and that its place has been taken by horrible darkness; that in the will there is a turning away from God, and hostility against God; in the heart stubbornness of disposition, and in all powers dreadful 'disorder' and corruption, so far as divine or spiritual things are concerned. This corruption of nature is not to be extenuated or painted over according to the judgment of reason but rather, what it is, of what kind and how great it is, must be judged according to the judgment of the Holy Spirit which He has revealed in the Word."

Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent
Colossians 3:2-17
 
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (ESV)
Prayer
Lord Jesus, You are the true image of God. Grant that that image would be restored to us by your donation of righteousness. Give us hope in the restoration of perfection that will give us perfect freedom from disorder in the life to come. Amen.
 
For all institutions of higher learning, that the Lord God would cause all useful arts to flourish
 
For Sophia Benton, that her heavenly Father would strengthen her in body and soul
 
For all those who received the holy body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins in divine service yesterday, that they would live in accordance with that gift
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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