Herrenhuter readings for Saturday, the 7th February 2015

Agnus_Dei_with_Vexillum

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19,9)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.(Colossians 3,16)

Our Lord and God Jesus Christ is the supreme judge of all. At the end he will judge the living and the dead. That will be the day, that ultimate and perfect judgement will be passed. Nobody is just gonna slip by. Every knee is going to bow before him. Everybody will acknowledge him to be the Lord to the glory of his Father, who together with himself and the Holy Spirit rules over all and everything – now and forever.

His judgements are true and righteous altogether. There is no exception. There is no falsehood or fraudulence slipping in. Instead his justice is perfect and his implementation of it without any blame, fault or error. It is but just righteousness, good, right and salutary. We don’t recognise it as such yet. Our perception is marred and impaired. It will take the completion of Christ’s mission and work, his consummation and perfection of the good work, he has already started to get us to see clearly and without sinful, faithless bias.

For presently we mean to behold lots of injustice and far too many getting away with murder and other shameless sins and vices. There are crooks sitting in high places. Thieves and murderers are held in high honours and occupy prominent offices. They bend the law and they cover up for their cronies and it’s one big fraudulent mafia. Not only in Africa and Russia, in India and China, among Arabs and Turks, but also in the rest of the world. The really big fish swim free, whilst the little ones are caught and hanged for next to nothing. Widows get overrun, orphans get discarded, foreigners, refugees and other persecuted victims are left discriminated, sidelined and even outlawed. Yet even we too are guilty of this and that. We too are not free from sin and can’t throw stones living in glasshouses as we do. We too struggle, suffer and are heavily burdened under our own hardness of heart, lovelessness and sinful faithlessness. We too are part of the problem.

That is why we are waiting so eagerly for the return of our Lord and God, the perfect and righteous judge of all. He will put things right, he will set the records straight, he will let peace, justice and truth reign supreme. It’s going to be pure heaven. He has already given us good illustrations of his righteousness and truth. He overcame evil by good. He suffered injury, cross and death innocently and thus overcame sin, death and the devil victoriously. He did this on our behalf. So that we, who are not free from sin and also fail and fall short when measured by God’s holy law and perfect will, would not go punished, but be freed by him and his vicarious salvation. Christ’s blood and righteousness that my beauty are, my glorious dress (LSB 563) This lovely turn-around, the glorious exchange and most gracious gift of life and salvation is what God’s justice and righteousness looks like. He is not just the upholder of law and order, the ultimate judge and perfecter of justice – as such he could only be feared, fled and perhaps even loathed. Yet his justice and perfect righteousness is this, that he forgives sinners and pronounces them be justified, righteous and truly holy by his divine grace and favour.  This is the way he will put his justice and righteousness in place – not just demanding it, but granting it. Thus the last will be first and the first last. Divine Justice for sure – true and righteous as only God could perceive and implement in absolute perfection and beauty.

In the meantime as we are waiting for our final deliverance and for our salvation to become visible in all glory and christological victory, we sigh and groan here, suffering willingly injustice and knowing that the injuries, hurts and deaths of this time and age carry no weight when compared with the coming glory. We take up the apostolic admonition and live up to it: Letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. This Word of the Lord, which we hear, learn and meditate in our hearts, this Christian wisdom and faith, which we learn not only in its main parts, but also in all its details and subdivisions  encourages us and edifies us in our daily lives, building and strengthening our faith. We sing, pray and say the Christian psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – not just with our mouths, but also in our hearts. They admonish us, they teach und instruct us, lead and guide us, uplift and encourage us, strengthen and empower us too. Yes – and they help us to live faithfully as Christians. Suffering willingly, but also standing up for the rights of others – especially those unfairly discriminated against, the young and defenceless, the marginalised and hurting, the poor and struggling, the ill and dying. Already the divine justice casts its bright beams of light into our life and changing all. The morning star is risen. The night is no longer all-consuming. It’s passing. It’s not long anymore and then everything will be different. He will be there in all his divine truth and perfection – and all will be at its very best. Until then we sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. Amen.

“Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness” by Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760 translated by John Wesley, 1703-1791

1. Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

2. Bold shall I stand in that great Day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully through these absolved I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

3. The holy, meek, unspotted Lamb,
Who from the Father’s bosom came,
Who died for me, e’en me t’atone,
Now for my Lord and God I own.

4. Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which at the mercy-seat of God
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me–e’en for my soul–was shed.

5. Lord, I believe were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.

6. When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
E’en then, this shall be all my plea:
Jesus hath lived and died for me.

7. Jesus, be endless praise to Thee,
Whose boundless mercy hath for me,
For me, and all Thy hands have made,
An everlasting ransom paid.

Hymn #371  The Lutheran HymnalText: 1 John 1:7
Author: Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1739, translated by: John Wesley, 1740
Titled: “Christi Blut und Gerechtigkeit” Composer: George J. Elvey, 1862: “St. Crispin”

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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