200 Proof TuneIn Radio

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Glorious Downward Spiral of Grace



We usually associate downward spiral with something negative, a downward spiral into addiction, illness, death.  Yet this is the trajectory of grace, a downward trajectory.

Why downward? Because Christ descended into our fallen mortal existence.  Through the fall of mankind (and yes, we participated and participate in it daily), we lost that fellowship that we had in the perfect love and companionship with God.  We no longer walk with Him in the garden, but we have been cast out, cast down into a world of pain, suffering and death.

Yet in the aftermath of the fall, God made a promise that from Eve would come one who would crush the head of the serpent.  Not just the head of satan, but He also would destroy sin and the consequences of sin, our last enemy, death.  So at the right time, in the fullness of time, Jesus, the Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity took on the flesh of man as the Son of Adam (and Eve) through the Virgin Mary and descended into our existence.  Into our sinful, fallen lives.

There, limiting His own Divinity, God in Christ Jesus, lived perfection in our presence and in our stead.  Here, He descended into our world and our lives.  Through the crucifixion, our Hero, our God allowed Himself to be lowered into our graves, into the death of our sins.  Yet even as He was lowered for us, He also ascended for us as He conquered death, and not for Himself, but for you and for me.

We are not lifted up, but Christ comes down to man.  This is the direction of Grace and this is the direction of God's gifts, downward.  Downward to The Cross, downward to the grave, downward into our sin.

So also we recognize that in true Christian Worship, we are not directed to lift ourselves up to heaven, but instead, through the work of the Holy Spirit, God comes down to man.

God reaches down to man in His Word, in His words of forgiveness and mercy, through absolution, in His Holy Supper, in the Waters of Holy Baptism, down to sinful man as man could never in a billion lifetimes even begin to ascend to the perfection of God.

Martin Luther says in his Heidelberg Disputation, "It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ."  He lifts us up, our works, efforts and merits are nothing more than us holding our own filth in His face. When we think that we have something to offer God, we are saying that we can help Him to save us.

The Direction of your worship reflects the direction of your salvation.  Always God reaching down to sinners, who on bent knees acknowledge their wretchedness.

In those low places, where there are the lowly, the fallen, the wretched, there Christ enters our existence and extends His mercy through His Word, His Sacraments and His Bride, the church.

Our sacrifices avail us nothing, but Christ's atonement has won us everything.



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