Monday, August 29, 2016

Something from ... Martin Luther re: Where to find Christ

          Far too many people who profess to be Christian also profess that they will meet him at the time and place of their own choosing.  They claim that they will commune with God in the lush forest, by the rolling stream waters, at some beautiful scenic venue, or in their deer stand.  "After all," they reason, "God is everywhere.  If God is everywhere, then I will commune with him wherever I happen to be."  What is so wrong about these sentiments is that God did not promise to bless or save you through these means or at these places.  The beauty of creation will show that God is wise, kind, powerful, and eternal (if he made these, he had to be here before they were), but it will never show you how sinners are saved.

         Martin Luther (1483-1546) wrote about where to find Jesus.  The immediate context has to do with Holy Communion, that is, Christ is found in the bread and wine for our eternal salvation.  But this quote hits on the main point--Christ and his salvation are only where Christ tells you that you will find him.  His promises come from Scripture, not from dreamy thoughts out of your own head.  Therefore, if you want to find Christ, go where he tells you to find him: In the word and sacraments.  (Hey!  Those are at church!)

“Although he is present in all creatures, and I might find him in stone, in fire, in water, or even in a rope, for he certainly is there, yet he does not wish that I seek him there apart from the Word, and cast myself into the fire or the water, or hang myself on the rope.  He is present everywhere, but he does not wish that you grope for him everywhere.  Grope rather where the Word is, and there you will lay hold of him in the right way.  Otherwise you are tempting God and committing idolatry.” (Martin Luther, The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ—Against the Fanatics, Luther's Works: American Edition, Volume 36 [Word and Sacrament II], p 342)

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