Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coming to God from Below

Green, Lowell C. "Martin Luther on Coming to God from 'Below' in its Implications for the Church Today.  A Reader in Pastoral Theology. Fort Wayne: Concordia Seminary Press, 2002.  42-45.

Luther "referred to the law as man seeking God above...and the gospel as God seeking man below" (p. 42).  This concept has broad application in faith and practice.  In law, God hides himself to protect us from the consuming fire of his presence.  We know God is there bt cannot see him.  In gospel, God reveals himself to us, revealing that the consuming fire of his wrath against us in our sin has been poured out on Christ.

Green asks how we respond when we suffer from persecution and hatred. If we rejoice because we are participating in Christ's suffering we are probably rejoicing in the Gospel.  If we wonder why we are "unsuccessful" we are probably guilty of trying to "come from above" through the law.  How does coming to God from below influence the worship service?  We see we have come to receive bringing nothing of value, as opposed to coming to give of our merit to Christ.  How does it influence evangelism?  We see that people are saved by Christ, not by our persuasive message or by their decision.

This brief article brings a very positive perspective to our Christian walk, urging us to see all we do as Christians as part of walking in the gospel.  We are indeed undeserving recipients of God's favor in Christ.

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