Martin Luther's TableTalk March 2017

As I write this, the second weather “event” of this month is taking place. Cyclone Debbie has made her path of devastation on the north of Queensland and now rain is belting down on my home and garden, flooding the backyard and roads around Brisbane. Just last week Bob and I visited the North Pine Dam just 2 ½ km from our home. It was sad to see the low levels. Today’s rain promises to fill the dam with some dams in the Gold Coast hinterland overflowing. So what was the first weather event of March? A fierce thunderstorm made it’s presence known on the 14th of March (to be exact) bringing with it a pelting of hail. It appeared less than a half-hour after the warning from the weather bureau and we just secured our patio before the wind tunnelled through. The electricity went off at 11:45 and returned around 6:00pm. This afternoon without electricity is nothing compared to what our fellow Queenslanders up North will experience in the weeks to come. Please join me in praying for a quick restoration of family homes, electricity and comfort to those who have lost so much.

Bob making us a cuppa with the Butane stove after the storm, my shade garden on 12 March and then a photo 2 days later after the hail storm

The readings I am sharing with you this month are on the topics of Free Will, The Catechism and Law and Gospel.

Two readings this month are not from TableTalk. The first is on calling and is an excerpt from the Augsburg Confession, which Martin Luther would of helped to write. This explanation of “calling” really spoke to me. I know one of my faults is comparing myself to others, thinking I should be more like “them”. So to read that our calling to serve Christ is individual and unique was a comfort to me. The second reading is by Francis Pieper, a Confessional Lutheran theologian (1852-1931).

Free Will:

...But the ideas of mankind concerning God, the true worship of God, and God’s will are altogether stark blindness and darkness. For the light of human wisdom, reason and understanding, which alone is given to man, comprehends only what is good and profitable outwardly. And although we see that the heathen philosophers now and then discoursed touching God and his wisdom very pertinently, so that some have made prophets of Socrates, of Xenophon, of Plato, etc, yet because they knew not that God sent his son Christ to save sinners, such fair, glorious, and wise-seeming speeches and disputations are nothing but mere blindness and ignorance.

Calling: written in Pray Now devotion

They also quote another passage about perfection, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21). This passage has stirred up many who have imagined that casting away possessions and the control of property is perfection...The abandonment of property has no command or advice in Scriptures. Evangelical poverty does not come from the abandonment of property, but from not being greedy, from not trusting in wealth, just as David was poor in a most wealthy kingdom.

Since the abandonment of property is merely a human tradition, it is a useless service...But (they say) Christ speaks about perfection here. Indeed, those who quote the text in a butchered way violate it. Perfection is found in what Christ adds, “Follow Me” (Matthew 19:21) Here he presents an example of obedience to one’s calling. Because not all callings are the same, this calling does not belong to everyone, but only to that person with whom Christ speaks. In the same way we are not to imitate the call of David to the kingdom (1 Samuel 16) or of Abraham to slay his son (Genesis 22). Callings are personal, just as business matters themselves vary with times and persons. However, the example of obedience is general. Perfection would have belonged to that young man if he had believed and obeyed this vocation. So with us perfection is that everyone with true faith should obey his own calling. Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXVII(XIII)45-50

Of the Catechism:

I believe the words of the Apostles’ Creed to be the work of the Holy Ghost; the Holy Spirit alone could have enunciated things so grand, in terms so precise, so expressive, so powerful. No human creature could have done it, nor all the human creatures of ten thousand worlds. This creed, then, should be the constant object of our most serious attention. For myself, I cannot too highly admire or venerate it.

Salvation --To be saved by the Word and the Sacraments means, according to Scripture, to be saved by grace for Christ’s sake, without works. And to be saved by faith means to be saved without works, by God’s grace alone, for Christ’s sake. The way of grace is the way of faith, and the way of faith is the way of grace. Francis Pieper

Law and Gospel

The Old Testament is chiefly a law-book, teaching what we should do or not do, showing examples and acts how such laws are observed and transgressed. But besides the law, there are certain promises and sentences of grace, whereby the holy patriarchs and prophets were preserved then, as we are now. But the New Testament is a book wherein is written the gospel of God’s promises, and the acts of those that believed, and those that believed not. And it is an open and public preaching and declaration of Christ, as set down in the sentences of the Old Testament and accomplished by him. And like as the proper and chief doctrine of the New Testament is grace and peace, through the forgiveness of sins declared in Christ, so the proper and chief doctrine of the Old Testament is through the law, to discover sin, and to require good works and obedience.

Blessings to you as you journey with Christ to the cross and beyond...

Betsy

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Created with images by congerdesign - "bible cross easter"

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