Smashed Reign of Death
Monday after Epiphany 3
23 January 2017
The incarnation inseparably joins our nature with the divine nature in Christ. God becomes man. The joining of our nature with the divine has permanent results for us humans. The life is united with us. Death and sin have their provisional reign ended by His purity and His indestructible life. Even though it seems that the vice grip of sin is the vice of ever lingering death, He smashes their reign by taking them into Himself.
 
Our enemy would prefer us to think that the edenic disaster is permanent and irreversible. If it would be left up to us, he would be right. But it is not up to us. We have a God who takes our nature upon Himself to undo Eden's death. He remakes life in Himself. He opens again the doors to paradise (Lk 23:43), by plunging the flaming sword into His own chest from which extinguishing water gushes forth life in superabundance. This is why the incarnation is so deeply significant to us Christians. It changes the whole world, by defeating death, slaying sin, and vanquishing vice. Christ was born for us. Alleluia.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"For our sake Jesus Christ, retaining all these attributes [of His different natures], and being born man in our body, spoke after the fashion of our nature without concealing that divinity belonged to His own nature. In His birth, His passion, and His death, He passed through all the circumstances of our nature, but He bore them all by His own power. He was Himself the cause of His birth, He willed to suffer what He could not suffer, He died though He lives forever. Yet God did all this not merely through man, for He was born of Himself, He suffered of His own free will, and died of Himself. He did it also as man, for He was really born, suffered and died. These were the mysteries of the secret counsels of heaven, determined before the world was made.
 
"The Only-begotten God was to become man of His own will, and man was to abide eternally in God. God was to suffer of His own will, that the malice of the devil, working in the weakness of human infirmity, might not confirm the law of sin in us, since God had assumed our weakness. God was to die of His own will, that no power, after the immortal God had constrained Himself within the law of death, might raise up its head against Him, or put forth the natural strength which He had created in it. Thus God was born to take us into Himself, suffered to justify us, and died to avenge us. For our manhood abides forever in Him, the weakness of our infirmity is united with His strength, and the spiritual powers of iniquity and wickedness are subdued in the triumph of our flesh, since God died through the flesh."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 9.7
1 John 4:1-6

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
 
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.   (ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, You bore our flesh of Mary. In that incarnation You remade all things. Help us to be at peace in the gifts won for us by this great mystery. Give us such joy that we cannot remain silent, but must speak of Your work to a world living in darkness and the shadow of death. Amen.
 
For all those who are seeking entrance to the kingdom of God through the sacrament of baptism, that they might be kept in the holy faith of the church
 
For Michael Golchert, that Christ would grant him healing
 
For Kirstyn Harvey, who will be undergoing back surgery, that the Lord Jesus would be with her and grant her healing
Art:  DAVID, Gerard  Triptych of Jean Des Trompes (1505)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017