God's Work and Ours
Wednesday After the Epiphany of our Lord
9 January 2019
It is easy to understand the difference between our works and the blessings of the Word of God. The Word of God gives all that God does, because His saying is as good as done. His saying makes so. Our works are our doing and often contradict our saying, because we say one thing and do another. This we usually call hypocrisy.
 
However, the worst hypocrisy is when we say we get right with God by our external works and even believe in, and trust in, our own works. This is the highest human folly according to Martin Luther. What foolish ingratitude toward God it is to place our works before Him as good and holy things, when Christ alone is our holiness before Him by grace! Doing good works as though they would make us right in the sight of God is the worst form of unbelief. O Lord, save us from this worst hypocrisy.
 
Of course, we must still do good works, but not for God's benefit. What of ours could He possibly want or need? Rather we must do good works to pummel our own flesh into submission and for the benefit of our neighbor. We need our good works and so does our neighbor. God decidedly does not.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"Our life consists in the internal holiness which is the Word or the blessing applied to us. It does not consist, as even the best among our adversaries contend, in our works. Yet we do not deny that good works must be done, that the body must be castigated, and that the lusts of the flesh must be resisted. The world, of course, is taken in by this hypocrisy and by the outward appearances of the works in order that they may remove the Word of God from sight. For human folly cannot distinguish between the Word of God and our work. Yet this distinction is easy and decidedly necessary. But for hypocrites it is difficult and impossible-not to understand but to take hold of."

 Martin Luther, 
Lectures on Genesis, 28.15
Ephesians 4:25-32

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)
Prayer
O Lord, help me keep my body under control that I might serve my neighbor and honor Your law. By Your Word keep me in the true faith that I might receive all You have promised and sealed to me by Your own saying, especially the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake. Amen.
 
For the family and friends of Jack Lanstad, whose remains will be laid to rest later this week, that they would grieve as those who have hope in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come
 
For Pastor Marvin Donaire and the members of the Lutheran Church of Nicaragua, that God our Lord would keep them in their most holy faith
 
For Charlie Schorre, who will be undergoing a heart bypass procedure, that the Good Shepherd would be with him granting him strength and a full recovery
Art: COSTA, Lorenzo Adoration of the Magi  (1499)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2019
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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