the gospel life

The same friend who previously asked via Facebook, “What is the GOSPEL?”, posted this:

“Follow-up question: Which is MORE important, preaching the GOSPEL correctly or living the GOSPEL correctly, and why?”

Some of the comments were beginning to mix Law and Gospel.

Below is my “comment”/response:

The two are so intertwined. They have their own distinctions, but the preached gospel is infused in the gospel life. There is no gospel life apart from God’s Word.

The gospel life is wonderful and glorious, and must always come from Christ. It is always God’s work. It’s not our work. We are dead to sin. Dead meaning can’t do nuthin’, bro. The Law strikes us down and strikes us down hard to death. We’re gonners. Now, God is merciful and gives us life in Christ. Any fruit from the Gospel life is sourced from the Jesus on the Calvary tree.

We can’t go back 2,000 years to that Calvary tree to claim the fruit. It’d be cool if we could. Firstly, we can’t go anywhere to find God. The Law is written on our hearts, our sinful hearts, and we really, really want to use the law by our will and our standards to get to God and ultimately make our own god. We’re so broken. It’s God that finds us. Read the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). The coin can’t flip back up into the owner’s hand. It’s motionless. We’re that coin, man. God finds us. And God then uses us, the coin, to do good things. God’s use of the coin is THE gospel life. I love that story.

Secondly, how does He deliver Himself to us? How does He give us that Calvary fruit? God uses His Word.

The Bible tells us that through the ordinary means of water coupled with Jesus’ words, shared by the tool of the pastor, God gives Himself to us in Baptism. He puts His holy name on us by forgiving our sins in the stead of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection. We’re in His family from Baptism. It binds the church and our lives. We belong to Him. It’s His work.

God gives Himself to us in the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s body and blood. The real deal. Crazy, crazy stuff. No man can rationalize it. It’s the work of God after all. His Word is true and it’s His Word that delivers His body and blood for our forgiveness. It’s right there. Holy blessings abound! The Supper is a direct conduit to Christ on the cross who won our sins once and for all. All these blessed things are given to us in God’s overflowing love. That’s Gospel. From there we live the gospel life, a gospel life of God doing His holy work.

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What is the GOSPEL?

An old college friend posted this question on Facebook, “What is the GOSPEL?”

It’s so wonderful to have a church with an historic book of confessions. Below is my posted “comment”/response:

God’s saving mercy, the work and gifts of God alone.

Or to put it more specifically from the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, V, 20:

The content of the Gospel is this, that the Son of God, Christ our Lord, himself assumed and bore the curse of the law and expiated and paid for all our sins, that through him alone we reenter the good graces of God, obtain forgiveness of sins through faith, are freed from death and all the punishments of sin, and are saved eternally.

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Ich bin dennoch getauft

A project under future consideration is a casket garment. One that may be used for the eventual time of my death. It’s not that death has been on my mind, but rather the life in Baptism. On the garment will have the text

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Luther’s Works for $2

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CPH publishes the series “Luther’s Works” for $34-$55 a pop. Imagine having the chance to get five of those books for $2 each.

That opportunity was mine last night. The five books were stacked at a not-for-profit community book sale. When the sale opened doors I started looking at the Art section for a few minutes then went over to the Religion section. As a man was scanning the first Luther book with his iPhone my jaw literally dropped to the floor. After scanning that first book he promptly grabbed all five and put them in his bin.

My head was spinning as I entered some alternate universe briefly while my brain processed what just happened. I meagerly offered to buy the books. “How much you want for the Luther books?” I asked. “I don’t have an answer,” was his reply. That man hit the jackpot and had absolutely no idea. Whatever his little scanner says was the only prompt for him to snatch those treasured books.

There wasn’t any jaw-droppers in the Art section either. Next time I’ll know to hit up the Religion section first. No doubt.

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difference between Reformed and Lutheran theology

Reformed theology sees the tapestry, analyzes it by unraveling it and reconstruction. It receives further joy from the resulting discoveries of God’s sovereign state.

Lutheran theology lets the tapestry be as it is, marvels at its beauty and receives endless joy from the unceasing, rich beauty that it offers.

The exercise of Reformed theology boils down to analyzation. The exercise of Lutheran theology boils down to marvelation (being marveled). It’s a culture of answers versus mystery.

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Taking that which is ours

Jesus releases death from the condemned by becoming our death on the cross.

Jesus conquers death in His (our) resurrection so that death does not conquer the dead, but brings life through and by Him in Holy Baptism.

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Artist Statement for 2014 Christmas card

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Artist Statement for “Annunciation and Atonement”
Erik Maldre

GOD FOR US, IN REALITY, THROUGH EARTHLY MEANS
Of note, this artist statement works within the sphere of the art itself. References touch upon qualities of the produced work resulting in conceptual thought. Blessed are we that God works not in concept or symbol, but in the real tangible means of His Holy Word and Holy Sacraments. The reality of his body and blood given for us in the present tense means of the Lord’s Supper is God at work pouring his mercy upon our sinful bodies. I thank God for His real presence. This artwork is a way to reflect God’s love.

CONCEPT BEHIND MEDIUM AND PROCESS
The miter saw blade is the God-figure within the conceptual realm of this art. Its overall shape is circular, speaking to God’s eternity. There’s a sense of awe when this blade seemingly changes form as it spins blurringly in its poetic glide. A powerfully gentle hum accompanies the action.

The table of the miter points toward the altar in the Holy of Holies and the altar at the Lord’s Supper. The God-figure blade comes down to us at the miter saw table paralleled by God coming down to us in Lord’s Supper at the altar. As the cloud of incense billows around the altar at the Supper so does sawdust fill the air as the blade enters the wood.

Approach the miter saw blade incorrectly and you will suffer great destruction. It will tear you up with less than shreds remaining. Approach the miter saw blade correctly within the properly allowed context and things of great beauty and function will be possible. It is through the joyful and respectful function of the God-figure blade (conceptually, conceptually) that this art has taken form.

The miter saw blade is never directly seen in the presentation of the art. Only the results of its work are on display.

The God-figure saw blade crafted this wood through the use of the artist working within the parameters of time and space just as God inspired the authors of the Bible to record His Word through the historical parameters of actual events in history. The artist works similar in course as how pastors in the catholic Church work. That is as instruments of God who distribute His Word.

The wood itself carries important meaning stretching throughout salvation history from the creation of all that’s good and right in a world of God’s liking from loving creatures to preciously pure water to beautiful trees then onto the aberration of the Fall of man at a tree in the Garden to the redemption and restoration of man at the tree to which Christ was crucified.

The stain on the wood shows sin infiltrating man’s essence while the white paint is Christ cloaking us with His righteousness. The stain remains as we live in this world, yet at the same time we are declared righteous in the stead of Christ. We are sinner and also saint.

This helps provides insight for the use of unseen miter saws, the artist’s role in such, and the medium of wood, stain, and paint.

GOD

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Holy Baptism for us

Holy Baptism is the Word from God, an ordinance, one of Gospel gift from God to us because it directly flows from the mercy of the cross and actually brings God’s real grace, the real presence of God Himself, and real salvation to all, thus defining the church.

Baptism is the greatest of all gifts.

In one respect it’s incredibly un-Lutheran to declare Baptism as the greatest of all gifts. Comparison between God’s gifts is not necessary. The question need not be asked or addressed because it is already answered. All the mercy that comes from God is of pure and

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