Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"To" versus "For"

If you've gone through any good Lutheran training, you should be familiar with the question "What does this mean?"  In the Lutheran Tradition, this question leads to a definite answer on the basis of Scripture.  Well, yes, we *do* know what the implications of this is... see, the Scriptures teach us.

There is a danger today, though.  We have the temptation to add two additional words that completely gut the old Lutheran question.  "To me."  Whereas the Lutheran approach was that the Scriptures teach something that is completely true, the phrase "to me" ends up making everything an exploration of the individual's insight.  What does this mean to me -- that's a question that really tries to undercut truth.  Who are you to say what is right... this is what it means "to me".

This has become the method of how we apply the Word of God to ourselves... we run it through our own interpretive filters - we become the masters of the Word, those who define it.  This is not the classic way... classically we used a different word, a different phrase.  It wasn't "to me" -- it was "for you."

Rather than trying to determine meaning, the old Lutheran approach was to determine benefit.  The meaning is clear -- we know what Christ's death upon the Cross means.  That's truth.  But the key to applying this truth isn't to reinterpret it-- it is to apply it.  Christ Jesus has died... for you.  He has risen ... for you.  Given and shed ... for you.  These things of absolute truth that we proclaim and teach -- we proclaim that they are for you, that you benefit from them.  Christ has fulfilled the Law for you, He has ascended to prepare a place for you.

As Christians, our goal isn't to be witty or creative.  We don't need to reinvent the wheel.  We are receptive... we receive the blessings God has for us.  We even view our own works receptively... it's not a matter of "Jesus died for you... now what are you going to do?"  Rather -- you are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He has prepared beforehand for you to walk in.

Yeah... even your works... God for you.

You don't need the navel gazing.  Rather this - hear, listen, behold - Christ Jesus does it all for you.

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