Welcome

Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

God’s Hands and Feet? Or Satan’s?

Perhaps you have heard the adage, “We are God’s hands and feet.” If this is true, that we are God’s hands and feet, what does this mean and what does this say about our God?

In the first article of the Apostles’ Creed we are reminded that God created all things out of nothing. And God continues to direct and preserve all that He has made. It all begins and ends with God.

In the second article of the Apostles’ Creed we are reminded that Jesus is God in flesh who came to live for us, take our sins upon Himself, suffer and die for us. He did this freely because of His love for us, because He created us to love us. He traded His perfect life for our imperfect life. And He rose from the dead, victorious over sin, death and the power of the devil. It all beings and ends with God. This article reminds us of our justification and that we are made just and right in God’s eyes by God Himself.

In the third article of the Apostles’ Creed we are reminded that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to gives us faith, to strengthen and keep us in faith. We call this work sanctification. The Holy Spirit works to sanctify or make us holy through the very means of God’s Word, enlightening us with His gifts, Confession and Absolution, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and giving us faith, strengthening of faith, forgiveness of sins, life in the world and even eternal life. This article remind us that our sanctification, that our being made holy has its beginning with God. God does and gives, and we are done to and given to.

So, if God gives life, forgiveness and new life, what does He need from us? Does God need for us to be His hands and feet? What does it say about God if we say He needs us to be His hands and His feet? An idol, a stone statue or image needs its worshiper to feed it, water it, move it, and in total to do for it because after all, it has no hands or feet and cannot do for itself.

God does not need us to be His hands and feet, but Satan does and unfortunately too often we are his will, if unconscious, hands and feet. How often it is that instead of keeping God first we put something or someone ahead of Him. Or instead of keeping His name holy we curse and swear. Or instead of being in divine service we have something more important to do. Of course, we would never admit that we have anything more important to do than be in divine service on Sunday, yet our very actions betray us, because we do choose to do what is most important to us. We cannot fool our hearts even with our lips. Yes, we may say that church attendance is most important, but what we do shows what is actually in our hearts as to being most important.

How often do we fail to give proper respect to our parents and others in authority, obeying the law? Or do we simply excuse our behavior from time to time? How often do we hurt and harm others with our words and actions? How often do we sit and lust after what we see on television, in movies, in commercial advertisements and even in the world? How often do we fail to take care of what we have borrowed or even failed to return it? How often have we failed to speak up for the absent party in any conversation as their name is “drug through the mud”? How often do we find ourselves begrudging others of what they have worked for and earned as if we deserve a share simply because we do not have it, even though we failed to work for it ourselves?

Yes, we daily step in and use our hands and feet for Satan, and more often than not we do it without even realizing it. We speak out against God, against His servant, our pastor, against His church, our congregation. We speak words of cursing and swearing unthoughtfully using His name. We have something more important to do than be in divine service and invite others to join with us. Anytime we break any one of the commandments we are the hands and feet of Satan.

Now, what does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we let God be God. Fortunately for us, God does not need for us to do any of His work, because thanks be to Him, He has done it all and He gives it all to us. God gives us life at conception. God gives us new life through His Word and Holy Baptism. God gives us forgiveness and strengthening through Confession and Absolution and through His Holy Supper. God gives it all and, we are given to. We need to be God’s hands and feet, as it were. We need to be able to do for God, to respond to Him for all He has done, does and will do for us. And even though we may do imperfectly, God does allow us to do for Him, in particular, He allows us to do the good works He has prepared in advance of us to do (Eph. 2:10), and He makes it right when we mess up what He allows us to do. This doing what He has prepared in advance for us to do is what we call vocation, and in our various vocations we live our lives in such a way that they bear witness of our faith in Jesus and give glory to Him, but again, this is as a response of faith, not because Jesus needs us to be His hands and feet.

Notice, as always, again and again, we get it right when we get right who is doing what, who is running the show, who is running the verbs. When we are running the show, we cannot be sure of what we are doing, and we get it wrong. When God is running the show, we know He always gets it right. Thanks be to God.

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