Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You have done it to ME/ Christ have Mercy

Ok, now, I think the antinomian controversy is settled.

We shall continue to preach the law to Christians.  As far as Christ is not raised in them, they still need to hear it.

We also deepened the concept of sin.  As Adam and Eve fell, they sinned against the first commandment.  When we fail to show mercy, or sin against the second table, we also sin against the first commandment.  (Thanks to Larry for this.)  This is what is means to deny God when you refuse to show mercy.  There are many layers to this.

I am sort of glad to give the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25)  a little different reading or emphasis from what is usually expounded in our circles.  Read Jesus words for what they are there.  What a relief.  Let's not beat around the bush.

Jesus is not emphasizing the fact that the sheep did all their merciful acts spontaneously because they have been justified by faith, (though this is also true).  He is emphasizing that when you do this for your needy neighbor, you are serving HIM in THEM.  And THESE are the KINDS of works to be doing, not, as Luther militated against, the pilgrimages, the venerating of relics, the asceticism.  Do not ever invent your own type of worship or works.

I personally think that I'm quite aware of what I am doing.  I may do some good spontaneously, i.e. freely, gladly, but nobody is going to say, "You went to see such and such in the hospital"  to me and I'm going to say "When did I do that?"  As long as I have a memory, I will know that I went to see such and such in the hospital. (just an example, not praising myself).  Jesus point is, if you want to do what I want you to do, then you  do these things.  And this is very serious.  You shall see ME in this needy person.  You deny them mercy, you deny me who has been merciful to you.

And, yet, all this without coercion because of the Gospel.

I get from this, too, that good deeds can be "planned", that while the primary "program" of the church is forgiveness, it can also have a "program" of mercy;  it need not be haphazard.

Another corollary is that we are also dignified in our suffering, which will surely come to us.


Steve Martin said...

I think Jesus' point is that the doers were not conscious of their doing.

When there was a need they just filled it. "When did we do that?", they asked.

So when we do with any slight notion of gaining any favor with God or others, we have just blown it.

Now, I think that the perfection that Jesus speaks of in the S.O.M. tells all of us that we have blown it.

I don't know about you, but I have never met a perfectly pure motive yet.

But that is OK, because Jesus' motives are pure, and He is the One who has forgiven (forgives) us and He is also the One who will be judging us.

Brigitte said...

That they were not conscious of it, comes out of it, too. I agree. That reflects the freedom we are talking about.

But don't you think that the stronger point is that Jesus is saying see ME in those people?

Steve Martin said...


But I think when He says "see me" it is more law than anything else.

Christ is concerned with the heart. When we are focused on pleasing Him, we are no longer free. In reality, (because of the cross) He is already pleased with us before we start the day.

That's why I think the un-selfconsciousness of the person just filling a need because it is there, without thinking about serving Jesus, but rather the what Jesus is after.
He does not need us, but our neighbors do.

Brigitte said...

I have thought about the "for me" quite a bit over the last few days.

As I said, it also speaks about me and you as the suffering.

You, yourself have said to me once: go and be a little Christ to others.

Jesus has it here the other way around. Others are to see Christ in us, as the ones receiving mercy, as the ones under the cross, as the lowliest ones who belong to him.

What Larry said, also makes a lot of sense. When it is HIM we worship, this comes down to the all encompassing issue of "having the Right God", or having a "gracious God" and not making up your own religion (inventing works).

There is only the One and He is not of our making or imagination. He has put himself where he is and this is one place where he has put himself, even in me and you.

It is really very beautiful.

As to the law in it. Harrison keeps saying things like this below. Just do me a favor and read this one. XO