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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Does the World Need A Savior?

In the newest Superman movie, Superman takes Lois Lane for a spin around the world. As they are hovering above the earth in embrace, Superman says to her, "You wrote that the world doesn't need a savior. But I hear people crying out for a savior all the time."

I won't review the movie, though I think it was much better than the previous Superman movies and well worth going to see. The point I wanted to focus on, however, is the question raised by the character of Superman. Does the world need a savior?

It is interesting that most of the comic book genre focuses on the problems raised by moral evil; more specifically, the major theme is almost always good versus evil. In fact, this theme goes back as far as language itself. The earliest stories told and the earliest written literature we have in almost any language in some way directly deals with the problem of evil or the theme of good versus evil.

Somehow inherent in the human condition is a perceived struggle within the conscience and with the environment that involves a need to understand suffering and hardship and why humans mistreat each other. Most of the time this goes back to some conception of evil, that is, something within us that has the intent of doing wrong or harm to others or which places the self above all else, even at the risk of self destruction.

We can all remember those movies where greed overcomes the group seeking a valuable treasure and the wicked begin to plot against each other so that he or she is the one who gets the wealth at the end. Unfortunately, the corrupt wind up murdering each other until the hero, the only one who is good, wins in the end and usually does not keep the treasure himself or herself but gives it to its rightful owner or to charity, etc.

Moreover, the world is indeed crying out for a savior. People suffer from abuse, famine, disease, crime, political oppression and a host of other evils. What is the solution for their suffering? Who can answer their cry for a savior? I don't believe modern myths can do much except give modern people a short reprieve. Once the movie is over it is back to real life. It is indeed ironic that the world is crying out for a savior but they refuse to accept the savior that God has sent to bring the very relief they cry out for.

Originally, evil has its source in the rebellion of Lucifer, one of the chief angels in heaven, who led a rebellion of a third of the angels. But the rebellion continued when Adam and Eve allowed Satan to deceive them into disobeying God. Ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God moral evil and environmental evil has been a part of the human predicament. Not only do we suffer at the hands of men born into sin and wicked from birth but each of us sins and brings suffering upon everyone else around us. Furthermore, the entire earth groans under the strain of sin. We have natural disasters and calamities, environmental pollution, famines, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tsunamis. Humans sin against each other individually and collectively as groups and as nations. Sociological, psychological, and philosophical issues intimately connected to the fall carry tremendous ramifications for humankind both individually and socially.

Indeed, the Christian savior who is the answer to all of these problems is no superman with superhuman or magical powers like the Superman character in the movies. Superman is a popular myth like Santa Claus rather than a god. But the Christian savior is fully human and not some alien from another planet. Jesus Christ, in order to fully identify with us, assumed a true human nature into the Godhead. God the Son, the second person of the Godhead, became human in every sense that we are human and became vulnerable and mortal just as we are. But the miracle is that He did this without becoming less than God. He is one person perfectly uniting two natures in that one person, yet without confusing the two natures or separating them.

The kind of savior we need to deliver us from our sins and propitiate the wrath of God against us as sinners, rebels and wicked humans is one who shares our humanity as a creature, who is perfectly righteous and has never sinned and who is truly divine. But why do we need this kind of savior? The Heidelberg Catechism answers those questions this way:


LORD'S DAY 5


12.
Q.
Since, according to God's righteous judgment we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how can we escape this punishment and be again received into favour?
A.
God demands that His justice be satisfied.1 Therefore we must make full payment, either by ourselves or through another.2
1 Ex 20:5; 23:7; Rom 2:1-11. 2 Is 53:11; Rom 8:3, 4.
13.
Q.
Can we by ourselves make this payment?
A.
Certainly not. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt.1
1 Ps 130:3; Mt 6:12; Rom 2:4, 5.
14.
Q.
Can any mere creature pay for us?
A.
No. In the first place, God will not punish another creature for the sin which man has committed.1 Furthermore, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.2
1 Ezek 18:4, 20; Heb 2:14-18. 2 Ps 130:3; Nahum 1:6.
15.
Q.
What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek?
A.
One who is a true1 and righteous2 man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time true God.3
1 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:17. 2 Is 53:9; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26. 3 Is 7:14; 9:6; Jer 23:6; Jn 1:1; Rom 8:3, 4.


LORD'S DAY 6

16.
Q.
Why must He be a true and righteous man?
A.
He must be a true man because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should pay for sin.1 He must be a righteous man because one who himself is a sinner cannot pay for others.2
1 Rom 5:12, 15; 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:14-16. 2 Heb 7:26, 27; 1 Pet 3:18.
17.
Q.
Why must He at the same time be true God?
A.
He must be true God so that by the power of His divine nature1 He might bear in His human nature the burden of God's wrath,2 and might obtain for us and restore to us righteousness and life.3
1 Is 9:6. 2 Deut 4:24; Nahum 1:6; Ps 130:3. 3 Is 53:5, 11; Jn 3:16; 2 Cor 5:21.
18.
Q.
But who is that Mediator who at the same time is true God and a true and righteous man?
A.
Our Lord Jesus Christ,1 whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).
1 Mt 1:21-23; Lk 2:11; 1 Tim 2:5; 3:16.

From: http://www.canrc.org/resources/bop/hcat/hcat2.html

Yes, the world is crying out for a savior. I believe every human being inherently knows there is a God and that we are guilty before Him, despite their rejection of Him and their denial of His existence. It is this guilt that drives us to cry out for relief, for a savior. And it is the suffering we bring upon ourselves and our neighbor through individual and collective sins that drives us to cry out for a savior. The need for deliverance from wars, calamities and natural disasters drives us to cry out for a savior. The knowledge of our impending death and our mortality moves us to cry out for a savior. And who is the only savior who can do all of this for us and for the whole world? His name is Jesus Christ!

The peace of God be with you!

Charlie

2 comments:

Mr_Jargon said...

Two links of interest:

http://www.energeticprocession.com

http://catholica.pontifications.net/docs/exiled.pdf

Charlie said...

I posted the links but this guy has no interest in the Protestant and Reformed tradition or the doctrines of grace.

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