quod pro nobis traditum est

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the simultaneous life of the saints

Back from a brief silence that included a vacation.

This post is rated for adults (please see the disclaimer below).

Lutheran teaching is quite clear concerning the merits of Mary and the Saints, that salvation is not gained through their merits. This is a huge topic, one too big for this particular post. I only mention this because not mentioning this will detract some readers from the focus of this post.

The apostle says, "perfect love casts out fear." A quick rejoinder, "we are sinners there is no perfect love." Good, we are sinners, we know that. Now back to the words, "perfect love casts out fear." Why does the apostle write this or why is anything written in the Scripture if we are sinners? Why does God do any good if we are sinners? Are not these words written to and for us? Can we not be led by God who creates faith to trust in "perfect love."

In my preparations I came across some hymns recently that mention Mary and the Saints. One hymn calls Mary "the bearer of the eternal Word." Another hymn says, "sing with all the saints in glory." Finally, another hymn says, "how firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word."

I am not so struck by the words of these hymns. They reflect the reality of the one church in heaven and earth existing simultaneously in communion in Christ. Rather, I am struck by the cynicism and fear that the words "Mary" and "the saints" cause us. Are these people not in Scripture? Are they not upheld there? Ought we fear them? Do not their examples inspire us? Do they not reflect God's good work in people? Are they not blessed? Do we really trust what God's Word says about them?

The Apostle says, "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world." Our boldness in the day of judgment is possible through Him who was judged for us on the cross. I personally am not afraid of Mary and the Saints. They mean us no eternal harm. Rather they reflect the glory of the one Mediator. Rather than bring me cynicism and fear they remind me of the great salvation of the Lord. Did not Mary say, "my soul magnifies the Lord?"

As one hymn that previously mentioned the saints says, "Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed . . ." What about perfect love? God is love. He sent His only begotten Son into the world, born of the blessed virgin Mary. In Him we are given salvation and made saints, together with those who now live in heaven, an ongoing communion under the Church's head, Christ our Lord.

DISCLAIMER: Different church bodies have different doctrines or teachings. Discussing doctrines or theology on this blog when there may be similar or united belief in doctrine does not equate with unity or union of churches or promotion of the same. This is simply a blog that discusses theology and other topics.

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