Devotional Thought of the Day:
26 The LORD said, “Do not make idols or set up statues, stone pillars, or carved stones to worship. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 26:1 TEV
16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
James 5:16 (MSG)
Marcion taught, on the basis of the opinions of his master Cerdo, that there is one god of the Old Testament, just, stern, and punitive toward sin, who rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom, Gen. 19:24; and there is another god of the New Testament, merciful, beneficent, long-suffering, who “causes His sun to rise and sends rain on the just and the unjust,
Our Saviour has left the holy sacrament of penance and confession to his Church, that in it we may cleanse ourselves from all our iniquities, as often as we should be defiled by them. Never suffer your heart, then, Philothea, to remain long affected with sin, since you have so easy a remedy at hand. A soul which has consented to sin ought to conceive a horror of herself, and cleanse herself as quickly as possible, out of the respect she ought to bear to the Divine Majesty, who incessantly beholds her. Alas! why should we die a spiritual death, when we have so sovereign a remedy at hand?
I have to wonder how much Marcion’s idea of two gods, one of the Old Testament and One of the New affects our viewpoint of sin.
The thought is prevalent today among many in the church, and it drastically colors our viewpoint of sin. We tend to dismiss things in the Old Testament that were prohibited (and not declared clean like bacon and Gentiles!) because we see the God of the Old being different, and having different standards than Jesus.
Perhaps that is why we don’t take the cure for sin seriously?
We all are sinners, whether it is gossip, or sexual sins, or hatred and name calling. We’ve developed our justifications, our defenses, such as – well that was in the Old Testament, and life is different in the New Testament. We even have simply gotten to the point where we deny that sin is sin. We ignore its gravity, its pain, its horror.
Worse than the horror, what we are really doing is robbing ourselves, and those we teach, of a wondrous gift, a gift that is more valuable than anything we could purchase. We don’t cover up and hide the sin, we bury and hide God’s glorious love and mercy.
We rob ourselves of forgiveness, of the healing and restoration God has promised us. We rob ourselves of being right with God, of knowing His love and presence. As De Sales teaches, why should we embrace a spiritual death, when our remedy is so at hand? When that remedy is the body and blood of Jesus, given and shed for you, that this covenant promise would be yours – that you would be righteous, innocent and holy, being freed from sin.
Paul’s words in Hebrew echo again here – run to Jesus, for if e neglect such a great salvation, what else is there? And if we are neglecting it because we don’t want to deal with sin, what is there?
The challenge is presenting this, not as the choice between wrath and paradise, for that is not the primary purpose of forgiveness. That purpose is so that we can know, that we can be assured that God is our God, that we are His people, that we are in fellowship, a deep intimate relationship that is based on the deepest of love. His love which doesn’t ignore our sin, but heals us. That was His plan throughout the Old Testament (read the dedication of the Temple if you don’t believe me) and is fully revealed in Jesus in the new.
Which is why Chemnitz follows his comments about Marcion with the beautiful, intimate description of our dwelling in the Word of God (that is, Jesus) as a baby dwells in the uterus. Safe, secure, nourished, until we find the day where glory shines… and all that is God is revealed.
Til then, we dwell in His peace. Amen!
Chemnitz, Martin, and Jacob A. O. Preus. Loci Theologici. electronic ed. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. Print.1885. Print.
Francis de Sales, Saint. An Introduction to the Devout Life. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son,