Monday, October 25, 2010

Is There A Higher Justice For All?

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
2 Samuel 11:27b

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love...
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight
Psalms 51:1a, 4a

Why do we naturally sinful human beings think we can get away with murder, adultery and other atrocities against God? Literally, these were the offenses against God that King David committed with the Bathsheba affair as recorded in 2 Samuel 11. He was negligent in his duties as king leading the Israelite army, he physically took another man's wife and committed adultery, than as cover up had the man murdered. Did he truly think God wasn't observing all this. The chapter ends with this summary statement: "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord."

What we are surprisingly show in this whole affair however is the compassion and mercy of God as he sends the prophet Nathan to confront David and secures the confession and absolution which results, with such admission and faith in God's forgiveness found in Psalm 51.

There David correctly surmises and proclaims that his real sin, real injustice was against God and only God. Here we can be sure David was thinking First Commandment. All breaking of God's law inherently involves First Commandment breaking, of forsaking what the only God would want us to do and abstain from.

David also correctly surmises and proclaims that God is able and willing to blot out all David's transgressions and ours in Jesus' sacrifice. Sin truly confessed as against a holy God and forgiven in Jesus Christ, His Son our Lord brings forth the joy our Thy salvation as expressed in Psalm 51:14: Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness." Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Scepter of Righteousness!

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.
Psalm 45:6

We don't see many scepters these days, except at formal events such as university and seminary graduation ceremonies where an official leads the procession with the scepter. It shows the authority to do the bestowing of degrees and awards.

How much more the authority of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus, to go bestow upon us His righteousness! The author of Hebrews quotes this verse in Chapter One, Verse Eight, to prove that Jesus has the scepter above all created beings, including angels. This scepter thus extends over all beings, and it is forever and righteous.

Thanks be to God that this authority is of righteousness. This is what God wants to bestow upon all humans, the righteousness of King Jesus! As verse 4 expresses it: "In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!" And none more awesome or righteous than the sacrificial death and resurrection upon the cross to free mankind from sin, death and devil. This King is truly awesome in His deeds on behalf of sinful mankind.

This scepter of Our Lord goes before us in victory each Lord's Day as He leads us in procession to cast our sins upon Him and in return He gives us His righteousness. As Psalm 45 continues on in verse 7: He is anointed for this very purpose!

How truly wonderful and comforting to know that the scepter of Our Lord Jesus Christ is about imputing His righteousness to we the penitent, believing members of His kingdom. Alleluia!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Greater than John the Baptist?

"Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:11

At first glance, this passage seems very difficult to understand. How can Jesus at the same time refer to John the Baptist as the greatest and then turn around and say that the least of those in heaven's kingdom are greater than he?

Many potential explanations have been given, but only one seems consistent with Scripture. Matthew 13:16-17 points to those believers who will see and hear all the miracles of Jesus, especially His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.

This fits well, since John the Baptist was a mighty prophet who did no sign miracle but rather proclaimed God's Word with power and strength, a mighty Voice in the Wilderness! As the Elijah of the Old Testament learned, God is not necessarily in the mighty wind or tumbling earthquake, but in the still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11,12) Mighty men of God such as John the Baptist were such not due to their greatness, but the great things that God did through them. Here Jesus informs us of this greatness, the preparing the way for the Christ which God accomplished through John.

We in the New Testament church have heard all the mighty miracles and words of this Christ which announce the kingdom of God come to earth to save men from their sins. Those such as John the Baptist did not see nor hear all these marvelous things of Jesus Christ! Not that their faith in His coming is any less than ours, but only we have been blessed to see through spiritual eyes the consummation of Jesus' saving work.

The members of God's kingdom thus have high regard and honor for John the Baptist and understand what Jesus is offering to us in this text. The words of the hymn "When All the World Was Cursed" say it well (verse one); "When all the world was cursed, By Moses' condemnation, Saint John the Baptist came, With words of consolation. With true forerunner's zeal, The greater One he named, And Him as yet unknown, As Savior he proclaimed."

Monday, October 4, 2010

All Should Be Interested In the One Who Controls Death

Lord I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.
Matthew 8:8-9

Should not everyone be interested in the One who controls life and death? The one who can raise the dead to life everlasting? The centurion in Matthew 8 is! He easily relates to Jesus who has authority over human affairs, especially death and life and so requests healing for his sick servant. Just say the word! And Jesus did! And the servant was healed at that very moment!

So are we who believe in Jesus as this centurion did. We believe He is the Lord of life and death and controls them simply with His speaking or withholding the words of forgiveness of our sins! Jesus had such a reputation that excelled in speaking with authority; it happened just as He said! This centurion trusted that when Jesus said it was so, it was.

As the famous Christian John Chrysostom wrote: "For he came indeed seeking for his servant bodily healing, but he went away, having received a kingdom ... For because the centurion showed great faith and lowliness of mind, Christ both gave him heaven, and added to him the health of his servant."

This is all about salvation by faith in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sin. It is all about what Jesus did in His perfect body to redeem us from the curse of sin and snatch us from the fiery hell to an eternal heaven by His speaking it so.

He continues to speak such miraculous faith where His pure gospel is preached and His saving Sacraments are administered according to His mandate. We are interested! Keep us ever so trusting in Him who has control over death and life.