His Knowing
J.K. Wilhelm Loehe, Pastor
2 January 2018
Computers are both a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing in that they make it possible to accomplish many things of which we would be incapable without them. For example, this email is one of those things. Before the advent of the internet and searchable media, this email devotion would have been impossible. However, they can also be a curse when they fail to work properly or are infected by malware (perish the thought!). They burn up enormous amounts of time when we are forced to reload software or determine why they won't connect to the internet or how to remove the malware. One of the most common and understandable excuses for the failure to complete work now is, "the computer crashed" or "the internet is down."
I struggle with the computer because I know enough to use them when they work properly, but not enough to fix them when they don't. The working of the computer remains a mystery to me and I want it to stay that way. I have no desire to learn what is necessary to become my own computer guru. Although I am occasionally frustrated because I must wait for someone else to fix my computer, I have no desire to spend the enormous amount of time to learn what is necessary to understand what is happening when my computer fails to work as expected. I am delighted that the computer remains to me a useful mystery.
Lots of things in life work this way, we are only vaguely aware of their whole structure of meaning. Who of us could explain the whole meaning of the gift of love and marriage in coherent terms, yet who could doubt that they are experiencing a great and blessed good from God in his or her own marriage? Who, when reflecting on the unfathomable mystery of marital love, would fail to appreciate his or her own experience of it? So it is with the eternal gospel of Christ proclaimed by the prophets and the apostles. Our heavenly Father has bestowed on us the full gospel of salvation. He has not, however, given us entrance to the full depth of His mind, heart, and will. He remains God and we are sinful creatures. We may not plumb such mysteries. Because of our fall, this remains for the last day, when we shall see all clearly what remains now unclear hidden by the glass darkly.
What God has revealed in the person of His Son is sufficient for His uses, even if not for our warped purposes. He desires to save us through His knowledge. We desire to control Him through ours. Such knowing He has forbidden us, hiding it under the clouded glass of darkness. While we greedily try to control Him through knowing, He freely gives Himself into our possession by His knowing of us. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   John Chrysostom
"The word 'veiled' (2Co 4:3) indicates also the gospel's being contrary to all expectation. By no other name does Scripture call what happens beyond all hope and above all thought of men. Paul again says, 'Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed' (1Co 15:51).
"And although the gospel is preached everywhere, still it is a mystery. For as we have been commanded, 'whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops' (Lk 12:3), so have we also been charged, 'Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs' (Mt 7:6). For some are fleshly and do not understand. Others have a veil upon their hearts and do not see (2Co 3:15). Therefore that is above all things a mystery, which everywhere is preached, but is not known by those who do not have a right mind. The mystery is revealed not by wisdom but by the Holy Spirit, so far as is possible for us to receive it. For this reason a man would not err, who in this respect also should call it a mystery that is unutterable. For not even unto us, the faithful, hath been committed entire certainty and exactness. Paul also said, 'For we know in part and we prophesy in part. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.' (1Co 13:9, 12).
"For this reason Paul says, 'We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.' (1Co 2:7). That is, that none of the powers above have learned it before us; neither do the many know it now."

 John Chrysostom,
Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 7.2-4

1 Corinthians

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 
Heavenly Father, You have revealed Your gracious will to us sinners on the lips of Your beloved Son, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Then You commanded that the saving knowledge be proclaimed by the prophets and apostles, that we might know that You have known us in love. Grant that we might be freed from our greed to possess You, that we might freely receive all we need in the mystery of the gospel. Amen.
For Michael Koutsodontis, who is undergoing therapy for cancer, that the Lord of life would grant him strength and healing
For all those offended by the weakness of the Christian religion, that they might be converted by the weakness of Christ and learn from Him what true strength is
For the gospel-centered fervor to share the good news of the incarnation with a fallen world
Art: MARATTI, Carlo  The Holy Night (1650s)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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