It's Just that Simple
Wednesday of Epiphany 4
6 February 2019
Confession of the truth is not optional. What we believe in our hearts must be confessed with our mouths. It couldn't be any other way. Monumental things have been done for us poor sinners by Christ. What Christ has done for us has changed all we are and have. Who then could remain silent? Even the stones themselves would cry out the lordship of Christ if we would remain silent. This is the mystery of our faith that God has placed His salvation in our mouths to be confessed. It is not for us to "rationalize" this faith. We must not argue about it.
 
We may not consider our Lord Christ as a diamond appraiser considers a gem stone; putting a value on it and then setting it aside to consider the next glittering rock. Our Lord must not be placed in a hierarchy of values in our lives. He may not merely be "valued" by us; or considered against other things we "value." He must value us. He must possess us. He must be our one and only possession in comparison to which all other things are but dung. We are valued by Him because He has made us His own possession by paying for us by His life blood. How do you get richer than that?
 
This week everyone is saying to his neighbor, "How about the Superbowl?!" even if it was a sporting dud. Yet the victory of the New England Patriots is nothing in comparison to the victory won by Christ the God Man who died and rose on high. About whom shall we talk? Who is our God? Members of the Patriots thanked God for their team's victory "I just thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to be strong, and for the family I have." Even if we don't have our priorities right, sometimes the people closest to the cultural idol of the NFL do. Whom shall we confess today, tomorrow, and forever? That is the question. Let us confess Christ who died for us and rose for us. It's just that simple.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

  Hilary of Poitiers
"There is demanded from us an unwavering certainty. The Apostle Paul expounding the whole secret of the Scripture proclaims, 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (Rm 10:8). The words of our confession must not be tardy or deliberately vague: there must be no interval between heart and lips, lest what ought to be the confession of true reverence becomes a subterfuge of unbelief. The word must be near us, and within us; no delay between the heart and the lips; a faith of conviction as well as of words. Heart and lips must be in harmony and reveal in thought and utterance a religion that does not waver.
 
"Here too, as before, the Apostle adds the explanation of the Prophet's words, 'That is, the word of faith that we proclaim; because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved' (Rm 10:8-10). Piety consists in rejecting doubt, righteousness in believing, salvation in confessing. Do not trifle with ambiguities, do not be stirred up to vain babblings, do not debate in any way the powers of God, or impose limits upon His might, cease searching again and again for the causes of unsearchable mysteries. Confess rather that Jesus is the Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead. In this is salvation. How foolish it is to depreciate the nature and character of Christ, when this alone is salvation, to know that He is the Lord.
 
"Again, what an error of human vanity to quarrel about His resurrection, when it is enough for eternal life to believe that God raised Him up. In simplicity then is faith, in faith righteousness, and in confession true godliness. For God does not call us to the blessed life through arduous investigations. He does not tempt us with the varied arts of rhetoric. The way to eternity is plain and easy. Believe that Jesus was raised from the dead by God and confess that He is the Lord. Let no one therefore bend into an occasion for impiety, what was said because of our ignorance. It had to be proved to us, that Jesus Christ died, that we might live in Him."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 10.70
Romans 10:8-17

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
 
But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
 
(ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, You have confessed us before Your Father in heaven. Send Your Holy Spirit to us that we might confess You faithfully in the world. Grant that those who hear our confession would also believe and embrace this Your Word. Amen.
 
For the faculty and staff of Memorial Lutheran Church and School that they might be strengthened in their labors and that God would give the increase
 
For all professional drivers that the holy angels would watch over them and give them safe travels
 
For all judges and officers of the court that they might judge with integrity and justice, so that we might live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and honesty
Art: MICHELANGELO Buonarroti Isaiah (1509)
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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