Wholly Saved
Wednesday after the Last Sunday in Church Year
29 November 2017
What kind of a salvation would include only the soul and not the body? Whatever it is, it is not a Christian salvation. The martyrs gave their bodies up to flames that they might inherit a body like unto Christ's at the resurrection of all flesh. Those who were thrown into the filth of the common sewers hoped for a body cleansed of befouling filth in the life of the kingdom to come. Those whose tendons and sinews were shattered on the rack looked forward to being knit together by the physician of both soul and body. What a horror if their heroic bodies would not receive the full recompense of a gracious God who can raise broken bodies and knit them together again. Yet, there are those, more Platonist than Christian, who presume the resurrection of which the Bible speaks is merely a figure of speech for some kind of body-less and purely spiritual existence. Much talk of the immortality of the soul, true in itself, tends in this direction.
 
The person of Adam was called a living being when God breathed into him the breath of life. God's breathing took the common clay and turned it into His special creation. God's breathing made man what He is. But there is no thinking of Adam apart from the clay into which God breathed. "The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (Gn 2:7). It would be strange indeed to denigrate the very substance into which the Lord had breathed in order to animate it, and after its animation to try to divide it. Indeed, the divine power is illustrated by God's ability to divide spirit and body (Heb 4:12). We humans do not have the power to make that division. For us that division is a crime: murder. This Lord gives life and brings death.
 
If you come upon a traffic accident on a lonely road, and find its victims bleeding from its violence, who would think only to pray over those who are suffering and not also staunch their bleeding. Who would call such negligence rescue? Would we not both pray and also speedily see to the necessary medical care of those who had suffered bodily injury. How much more is that not the case on the part of the God who has not only desired our salvation but also created the very body which He has the power to raise? God does not provide only a second rate salvation. He's not a second rate God. He saves wholly.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Tertullian
"Jesus says that He 'came to seek and to save the lost' (Lk 19:10). What do you suppose that to be which is lost? Man, undoubtedly. The entire man, or only a part of him? The whole man, of course. In fact, since the transgression which caused man's ruin was committed quite as much by the instigation of the soul from concupiscence as by the action of the flesh from actual fruition, it has marked the entire man with the sentence of transgression, and has therefore made him deservedly subject to perdition. He will be wholly saved, since he has by sinning been wholly lost. Unless it is true that the sheep (of the parable) is a 'lost' one (Lk 15:4), irrespective of its body; then its recovery may be effected without its body. Since, however, it is the bodily substance as well as the soul, making up the entire animal, which was carried on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, we have here unquestionably an example of how man is restored in both his natures. Otherwise, how unworthy it would be of God to bring only a part of man to salvation-and almost less than that; whereas the munificence of princes of this world always claims for itself the merit of a complete grace!"

Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 34
Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."
 
So he told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (ESV)
Prayer
Lord Jesus, save us wholly as You have promised, by taking our human flesh of Mary. Amen.
 
For prisoners, that they might hear the gospel of Christ
 
For Andrea Saenz, that the Lord Christ would be with her as she undergoes diagnosis and that she would be strengthened in body and soul
 
For Christopher and Florencia Benton, that the Lord would bless them in their calling as physicians as they bring healing to bodies
Art: Jan van EYCK, The Adoration of the Lamb (1430s)
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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