Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 16 – Living For The Rest Of The Time

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.  For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him Who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”  1 Pet. 4:1-5

Devotional Thought For The Day

Throughout Holy Scripture there are literally hundreds of passages encouraging us to enjoy the good gifts God has liberally permeated the earth with – including fine foods, the best meats, wine, marriage [and sexuality within marriage], family, friendships.  There are also numerous warnings against the sinful use of all these things – drunkenness, gluttony, greed, sexual passion outside of marriage, making anything or person more important than God and His Word.  There are two dangers – the first is to succumb to the weaknesses of “the flesh” and to live in licentious idolatry, swept away in a “flood of debauchery” – as unbelievers [the Gentiles] do.  The second is to deny the goodness of God’s created gifts and to piously embark on a “superior” path of austere asceticism – turning the good gifts of God, intended for our blessedness and proper enjoyment, into sin and darkness.  Both paths are spiritually deadly and a form of idolatry.  Both present serious temptation and allure to fallen, sinful human beings.  Both are warned against in numerous passages from God’s Word.

The first turns passions and pleasures into the highest good, including overindulgence, so that life is lived to these things and not to God.  Peter asserts that we have all had enough time doing this, that we need to be “armed” with a different way of thinking – that all overindulgence, and all improper uses of the created gifts of God, is sin, and that with Christ we have died to sin so that now we live to God, for “the will of God” [as revealed in Holy Scripture, the Bible – and not as perverted and corrupted and added to by evil spirits and “new” revelations].  The second turns our minds away from God by making the created gifts evil, and by elevating man and his efforts at “sanctification” and “holiness” to be the highest good.  So there is no repentance, no real embrace of faith and joy in Christ Who suffered and died to take away our sin and guilt, and no enjoyment and affirmation of the gifts and love of God, but only worship of the supposed abilities of man, and of a “god” who is nothing like the God of Holy Scripture.  This is substituted for living to “the will of God” and elevated above the life of faith in Christ – and is an equally detestable form of idolatry.

The judgment of men, therefore, goes both ways, the two extremes of idolatry judging each other, and people on both extremes judging those who are truly living to “the will of God,” who are living decent lives of repentance and faith, but also joyfully embracing God’s love and His loving gifts from creation which “make glad and strengthen the heart of man” [Psalm 104:10-15], but using them with moderation and in thanksgiving to God. These understand that it is not the judgment of men that counts, but rather the judgment of God “Who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”  Let the others yap – and let them go on living in commitment to their idolatry if they must; we will avoid both extremes and live to the will of God, knowing His gracious mercy and forgiveness, knowing that He wills for us to have peace and joy in His love, the love that “casts out all fear” [1 John 4:18], and enjoying with deep gratitude the wondrous gifts that He has provided for our gladness and strength.  That is being “armed” with God’s way of thinking!

Scripture Cited

Psalm 104:10-15  “You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.  Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.  From Your lofty abode You water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your work.  You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You have done for us in Your suffering and death on the cross for our sin and guilt, providing us with the joy of Your salvation.  Thank You also for the wise instruction in Your Word, that we may find the appropriate balance in our relationship with the wondrous gifts of love that You have given us in creation.  Yes, our minds need to be armed with the knowledge of Your will, so that we may be devoted to it.  Grant this blessedness and wisdom to us as well, so that our minds never be turned from You – and our lives thus ruined.  Amen.