Friday, November 9, 2012

Words of Command, Words of Blessing

We as Lutherans need to read Luther on the Lord's Supper more often.  I think one of the most wondrous things about Luther was that he would not let the Supper become a mere command -- he would not answer the question "how often does a person *have* to go to the Supper" -- he wouldn't answer it.  The closest he came was along the lines of saying that if you don't show up at least 4 times a year, you should wonder if you are still a Christian -- but he would give no mandate, no command.

Why?  Because the Supper is a blessing. 

Now, one could very easily go off on a Law based tangent -- oh, you have to eat this often... one could then invent some man made standard and say, "ah, if you do this, then your use of the Supper is God pleasing."  But that is just ego getting in the way -- the Supper is a blessing for the forgiveness of sins, not a holy hoop to jump through in order to prove to God that you really are loyal to Him.

Sinful man wants to change God's words of blessings into words of command - we want to import a "threat" -- do this... or else!  Which again, is totally backwards.  Luther didn't merely use the terms "Law and Gospel" - he also used "threats and promises" -- that there are the times where God uses Law, where he threatens punishment for disobedience -- and then there are the times where God simply gives promises and blessings and all that is good.

So -- what does it say if you take a Promise of God... and then import a threat?

What if God promises forgiveness... and you add an "or else"?

What if God says He will bless you... and you decide to add an "or else"?

What has happened is you have radically confused Law and Gospel -- and you've taken comfort and turn it into self-serving pride and self-love.

Let God's promises remain His promises, free and full of His love to you.

(And yes, Rev. Bill Cwirla pointing out in the previous post that "Be fruitful and multiply" is a blessing and not a commandment got me thinking this way...)

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