The Right God
Tuesday of Epiphany 2
17 January 2017
Christ is the revelation of God in the world. Through His incarnation, God came to dwell bodily in Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to be born of the Virgin. He Himself is our righteousness (Jer 23:6). Note that the Bible attributes our salvation to the right God, not to our right believing. Now, the right God and right believing are inextricably bound together. But like love and marriage, they are distinguishable, even if inseparable. We are saved from God's side by His decisive action in Christ. We are not saved from our side by our pious believing of this or that. Our believing only follows the self-revelation of God in Christ. God's revelation of Himself has priority.
In the New Testament the disciples only believe after they have experienced the presence of the eternal Son of the Father. Our believing does not make things so, only God's being in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself not counting our sins against us makes things so. This is why Hilary of Poitiers points out that the way to the Father is in the Son, not merely through knowing the instruction of the Son. The Son Himself is our salvation. It is no wonder the church celebrates so joyously the season of the incarnation.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"As the Way, Christ will guide us to the Truth; the Truth will establish us in the Life. Therefore, it is all-important for us to know what is the mysterious mode, which He reveals, of attaining this life. 'No one comes to the Father except through me' (Jn 14:6). The way to the Father is through the Son. And now we must inquire whether this is to be by a course of obedience to His teaching, or by faith in His Godhead. For it is conceivable that our way to the Father may be through adherence to the Son's teaching, rather than through believing that the Godhead of the Father dwells in the Son. And therefore let us, in the next place, seek out the true meaning of the instruction given us here. For it is not by cleaving to a preconceived opinion, but by studying the force of the words, that we shall enter into possession of this faith.
"The words which follow are, ' If you had known me, you would have known my Father also' (Jn 14:7). It is the man, Jesus Christ, whom they behold. How can a knowledge of Him be a knowledge of the Father? For the Apostles see Him wearing the aspect of that human nature which belongs to Him; but God is not encumbered with body and flesh, and is not recognizable by those who dwell in our weak and fleshly body. The answer is given by the Lord, who asserts that under the flesh, which in a mystery He had taken, His Father's nature dwells within Him. He sets the facts in their due order thus, ' If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him' (Jn 14:7). He makes a distinction between the time of sight and the time of knowledge. He says that from henceforth they shall know Him whom they had already seen; and so shall possess from the time of this revelation on the knowledge of that nature in Him, on which they long had gazed."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 7.33-34
John 14:1-7

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."
O Lord, Christ, You Yourself are our righteousness. Help us to see in Your incarnation the revelation of the Son of God, who is the way, the truth, and the life for us. Amen.
For Joanna Karner and all chronically ill people, that the Lord Jesus would continue to grant His gifts of comfort and grace
For John Dreyer, recruiter for Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, that his work would be blessed by God
For all church musicians, that they would be strengthened in body and soul and prepared to sing to the glory of God
Art:  DAVID, Gerard  Triptych of Jean Des Trompes (1505)
Memorial Lutheran Church
©  Scott Murray 2017