Righteousness in the World
Johannes von Staupitz, Luther's Father Confessor
8 November 2018
There are two kinds of righteousness. The most important is righteousness before God. That righteousness is a gift of God by grace and therefore is not attributable to our works or actions, thoughts or deeds. The less important righteousness is righteousness before the world. It is attributable to our works, actions, and deeds. Our hearts are pure in the sight of God for Christ's sake through faith. Our lives are pure before the world and in service to our community by living in the commandments of God.
Fulfilling the sixth commandment gives us sexual purity before our community and the world by extolling marriage and its divinely worked blessings. The marriage bed should be kept pure (Heb 13:4). For single persons that purity is maintained by sexual abstinence. Those who have the gift of sexual abstinence are truly blessed, but there are few such persons. The rest maintain godly chastity by marrying and remaining faithful to their husband or wife until death parts them. God blesses us with chastity in either marriage or the single life. Both are honorable estates given by God. Both states are callings from God, but in them Christian people must show themselves to be disciplined and obedient to God's law as it functions in the world. In other words, righteousness in the world must be cultivated and fulfilled by us.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"You must know also that marriage is not only an honorable but also a necessary state. In general and in all conditions it is solemnly commanded by God that men and women, who were created for marriage, shall be found in this estate. Yet there are some exceptions (although few) whom God has especially set apart. They are not fit for the married estate. Or there are individuals whom He has released by a high, supernatural gift so that they can maintain chastity without this estate (Mt 19:11-12). For flesh and blood remain flesh and blood. The natural desire and excitement have their course without delay or hindrance, as everybody sees and feels. In order, therefore, that it may be easier in some degree to avoid inchastity, God has commanded the estate of marriage. In this way everyone may have his proper portion and be satisfied with it. Yet God's grace is also required in order that the heart may be pure."

Martin Luther, Large Catechism,
Matthew 19:3-12

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."
The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But he said to them, "Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it." (ESV)
O Lord Jesus Christ, true bridegroom of the church, thank you for the gift of chastity both in marriage and in the single life. Help me to support this gift by your Holy Spirit in my life and in the lives of those whom I love. Amen.
For Memorial Lutheran School and its Headmaster, Pastor Paul, that God the Lord would uphold them in their callings
For the tortured and oppressed Christians throughout the world, that God would give them strength to bear the cross
For those who work with people suffering from dementia, that they would be patient and kind to those whose minds are suffering from decay and weakness and find joy in their labors
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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