Herrenhuter readings for Monday, the 23rd February 2015

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And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. (Deuteronomy 28:2-3 KJV)
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Matthew 13:16 KJV)

Blessings belong into the 1st Article of creation and preservation. It’s not so much a matter of salvation and sanctification. These latter ones are God’s extraordinary gifts of rescue and liberation from sin, death and devil. These are given first and foremost through Jesus Christ our Lord by grace through faith. Whereas the blessings of the 1st article are also totally without any merit or worthiness on my side, solely thanks to the fatherly goodness and mercy that he showers daily on good and bad like the rain that waters the fields and cools the air too. These divine blessings are new every morning and they are as regular as the rising of the sun in the east and its daily setting in the west too. The exodus from slavery in Egypt, the return from Babylonian exile and also the crucial event on Golgotha and Easter fall into the 2nd category of once off rescue actions of our God. These are memorable in their exceptionality and as Jesus work of redemption carry the tag: “Once for all!”

In the ways of the world we have the rule titt for tatt – or as the Romans would say: Do ut des! Luther underlines it quite clearly in his large catechism that God is not a green grocer, who bargains with us over the price of redemption and doesn’t deal with us on this exchange basis as if he or we could strike a bargain like on the market place.  With him its not what we do to him that makes him repay us this or that in kind. Obviously the law of causality, the equilibrium of physical forces and worldly reality holds true in our daily lives. You get, what you put in. Many wrongfully thought that that is the idea of God’s covenant with his people too: You do this and I do that! This is a difference of law and gospel, which is a difference like day and night. It’s That is why it’s so vital to listen closely to what our Lord Jesus Christ says here: But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Matthew 13:16 KJV)

What did they see and what did they hear? Well, that the last would be first, that the lost would be found and restored, that outsiders become insiders, those with nothing receive all and that poor, miserable sinners are forgiven and brought to honour and glory God’s free gift of grace and mercy calling on him no longer as strangers, outcasts and foreigners, but rather as sons and daughters their loving father. They saw and heard that Jesus Christ had come not to be served, but to serve, yes, that he gave himself as a willing sacrifice for us and our salvation there on the cross, suffering all so that we would be free to serve him with gladness and thankfulness – not as slaves, but rather as free members of God’s household. Blessed are all, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their saviour – and do not reject him foolhardily and to their detriment.

Faith and Truth and Life Bestowing

Faith and truth and life bestowing
	open now the Scriptures, Lord,
seed to life eternal sowing,
  	scattered on the wind abroad.
Let not hearts, your word receiving,
  	like a barren field be found,
choked with thorns and unbelieving,
  	shallow earth or stony ground.

May the Spirit's power unceasing
  	bring to life the hidden grain,
daily in our hearts increasing,
  	bearing fruit that shall remain.
So in Scripture, song and story,
  	Saviour, may your voice be heard.
Till our eyes behold your glory
  	give us ears to hear your word.

Timothy Dudley-Smith
Words © 1997 Hope Publishing Company

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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