Blessed Exchange

September 28, 2009

After the sadness I have felt as the results of the ELCA’s recent actions I have tried to find solace in God’s wonderful mercy and grace. Thinking about the “blessed exchange” I found this quote from Dr. Luther. If this can’t get you eyes off of your problems and on God nothing can.

From a sermon of Dr. Martin Luther…

Yesterday we began to speak about the baptism of Christ and said that he accepted it from John for the reason that he was entering into our stead, indeed, our person, that is, becoming a sinner for us, taking upon himself the sins which he had not committed, and wiping them out and drowning them in his holy baptism. And that he did this in accord with the will of God, the heavenly Father, who cast all our sins upon him that he might bear them and not only cleanse us from them through his baptism and make satisfaction for them on the Cross, but also clothe as in his holiness and adorn us with his innocence.

Is not this a beautiful, glorious exchange, by which Christ, who is wholly innocent and holy, not only takes upon himself another’s sin, that is, my sin and guilt, but also clothes and adorns me, who am nothing but sin, with his own innocence and purity? And then besides dies the shameful death of the Cross for the sake of my sins, through which I have deserved death and condemnation, and grants to me his righteousness, in order that I may live with him eternally in glorious and unspeakable joy. Through this blessed exchange, in which Christ changes places with us (something the heart can grasp only in faith), and through nothing else, are we freed from sin and death and given his righteousness and life as our own.

Luther, M. (1999, c1959). Vol. 51: Luther’s works, vol. 51 : Sermons I (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther’s Works (51:III-316). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.


The Bible Must Be Our Standard

September 24, 2009

In Sunday School we have had discussions on the ELCA decisions concerning homosexual issues. This Sunday we will look at the New Testament passages concerning homosexuality. I am only a member of the class but I put together some notes for the class. The main issue for me is not homosexuality.  The issue is what does the Bible say. I have felt part of the ELCA for many years but if the Bible is not going to be the guide which sets the standard how can I stand. I heard a line some years ago that goes… “If you won’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” It is time to take a stand on the Word of God and at the same time love the sinner. Part of loving the sinner is telling the truth and not making sinners feel good about their sin. If you are human, I think we all are, we struggle with sin our entire life. A Christian lives everyday in Christ’s forgiveness. This is where our peace comes from. Sin is sin and my sin is bad as the next person’s. We need to tell anyone struggling with any sin that Jesus Christ forgives sin. That’s the good news!

 Here are my notes…

Thesis 1 – The Bible Categorizes  Homosexuality As Sin

The primary issue is what the Bible says on any given subject must be the Christian’s source and norm. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin.

Presupposition 1 – All Scripture Is Inspired By God And Useful For Teaching, Reproof, Correction And Training In Righteousness 

2 Tim 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Presupposition 2 – Christ’s followers must be careful to follow Christ’s words and not the traditions of men and culture.

Col2:8 (ESV)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

2 Peter 3:17 (ESV)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP)

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

New Testament Passages Against Homosexuality

Romans 1:26-27 (ESV)

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:26-27 (NIV) 

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 (ESV) 

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,
9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,
10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV) 

8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.
9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Greek Words Used In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 And 1 Timothy 1:8-11

733 ἀρσενοκοίτης [arsenokoites /ar·sen·ok·oy·tace/] n m. From 730 and 2845; GK 780; Two occurrences; AV translates as “abuser of (one’s) self with mankind” once, and “defile (one’s) self with mankind” once. 1one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual.

730 ἄρρην, ἄρσην [arrhen, arsen /ar·hrane/] adj. Probably from 142; GK 776 and 781; Nine occurrences; AV translates as “male” four times, “man” three times, “man child” once, and “man child + 5207” once. 1 a male.

2845 κοίτη [koite /koy·tay/] n f. From 2749; GK 3130; Four occurrences; AV translates as “bed” twice, “conceive” once, and “chambering” once. 1a place for laying down, resting, sleeping in. 1a a bed, couch. 2the marriage bed. 2a of adultery. 3cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful. 3a sexual intercourse.



1) one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual
Part of Speech: noun masculine

Strong G733
From G730 and G2845; a sodomite: – abuser of (that defile) self with mankind.

ἄρσην – G730
arsēn – ä’r-sān

1) a male 

κοίτη – G2845

1) a place for laying down, resting, sleeping in
a) a bed, couch

2) the marriage bed
a) of adultery

3) cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful
a) sexual intercourse

1Cr 6:9  2228 Know ye 1492 not 3756 that 3754 the unrighteous 94 shall 2816 0 not 3756 inherit 2816 the kingdom 932 of God 2316? Be 4105 0 not 3361 deceived 4105 : neither 3777 fornicators 4205, nor 3777 idolaters 1496, nor 3777 adulterers 3432, nor 3777 effeminate 3120, nor 3777 abusers of themselves with mankind 733,
1Ti 1:10  For whoremongers 4205, for them that defile themselves with mankind 733, for menstealers 405, for liars 5583, for perjured persons 1965, and 2532 if there be any 1536 other thing 2087 that is contrary 480 to sound 5198 doctrine 1319;


God Design Has Always Been For Union Between A Man And A Woman

Matt 19:3-6 (ESV)

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Gen 2:18-25 (ESV) 

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19  So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The New Testament Writers Recognized The Sin Of Sodom As Sin

Jude 1:5-8 (ESV)

5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. 8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

(See Genesis 19:1-14)

Then what is a pure heart? – Martin Luther

September 15, 2009

I was checking another Luther quote and started reading the whole section and found this jewel.
Then what is a pure heart? In what does it consist? The answer can be given quickly, and you do not have to climb up to heaven or run to a monastery for it and establish it with your own ideas. You should be on your guard against any ideas that you call your own, as if they were just so much mud and filth. And you should realize that when a monk in the monastery is sitting in deepest contemplation, excluding the world from his heart altogether, and thinking about the Lord God the way he himself paints and imagines Him, he is actually sitting—if you will pardon the expression—in the dung, not up to his knees but up to his ears. For he is proceeding on his own ideas without the Word of God; and that is sheer deception and delusion, as Scripture testifies everywhere.
What is meant by a “pure heart” is this: one that is watching and pondering what God says and replacing its own ideas with the Word of God. This alone is pure before God, yes, purity itself, which purifies everything that it includes and touches. Therefore, though a common laborer, a shoemaker, or a blacksmith may be dirty and sooty or may smell because he is covered with dirt and pitch, still he may sit at home and think: “My God has made me a man. He has given me my house, wife, and child and has commanded me to love them and to support them with my work.” Note that he is pondering the Word of God in his heart; and though he stinks outwardly, inwardly he is pure incense before God. But if he attains the highest purity so that he also takes hold of the Gospel and believes in Christ—without this, that purity is impossible—then he is pure completely, inwardly in his heart toward God and outwardly toward everything under him on earth.

Luther, M. (1999, c1956). Vol. 21: Luther’s works, vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther’s Works (21:33). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

This Is Why We Lutherans Are Lutherans!

September 15, 2009

This is one of my favorite scenes from the fantastic movie Luther (2003)

This is why we Lutherans are Lutherans!  

"I Was Wrong" 

Scene takes place during a morning worship service…

That's how I saw God.  

Punishing us in this life,  

committing us to Purgatory after death,  

sentencing sinners to burn in hell 
for all eternity.

But I was wrong.

Those who see God as angry...

do not see Him rightly...

but look upon a curtain as if a dark storm cloud 
has been drawn across His face.

If we truly believe that Christ is our Savior...

then we have a God of love,

and to see God in faith 
is to look upon His friendly heart.

So when the devil throws your sins in your face

and declares that you deserve death and hell, 
tell him this...

"I admit that I deserve death and hell. 
What of it?

"For I know One who suffered 
and made satisfaction in my behalf.

"His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God.

Where He is, there I shall be also."


Actual Reference…

“Anyone who regards Him as angry is not seeing Him correctly, but has pulled down a curtain and cover, more, a dark cloud over His face. But in Scriptural language “to see His face” means to recognize Him correctly as a gracious and faithful Father, on whom you can depend for every good thing. This happens only through faith in Christ.”

Luther, M. (1999, c1956). Vol. 21: Luther’s works, vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther’s Works (21:37). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.


The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

September 8, 2009

I ran across this hymn by Martin Luther. As you read the hymn you will see why I titled this post the way I did.

“O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold”
by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

1. O Lord, look down from heaven, behold
And let Thy pity waken:
How few are we within Thy Fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o’ertaken.

2. With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error’s maze astounded.

3. May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: “Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master.”

4. Therefore saith God, “I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people’s cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending.”

5. As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So through God’s Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

6. Thy truth defend, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of their way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our Salvation.

Law and Gospel

September 6, 2009

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