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Archive for September 12th, 2012

On this blog I cite many times St. Augustine.  (For instance, cf. The Commemoration of St. Augustine) The order of monks named after him, the Augustinians, was the order in which Martin Luther became a monk.  Of the Church Fathers, Augustine is the father probably most influential in The Book of Concord:  The Confessions of the Lutheran Church because he taught and preached the Biblical doctrine entitled monergism, literally, “one work”, the Lord’s one work of grace  in His Jesus Christ for us sinners, not synergism, “working together”, which is perennial heresy of Pelagius.  After all as we are dead in our sin, the dead can not raise themselves but the Lord did rise and can raise us up both spiritually and physically.  

Pr. Paul McCain on his blog Cyberbrethren posted this trailer of the upcoming movie on the Saint.  It is produced by Ignatius Press, a conservative/traditional Roman Catholic publishing house.   Here is the website.  The movie looks interesting:

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The Whole Armor of God

The Greek word for “armor” in the Text is  ‘panoplia’  ” (Our word, “panoply” is derived from it).  “Pan-oplia” literally means:  All weapons.

“God’s Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes, who fear it;  For God Himself fights by our side With the weapons of the Spirit.” (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, by Martin Luther)

Reflection: The Roman soldier’s breastplate protected his vital organs:  heart and the bowels.  This is still the area that in target practice has the highest score and which is protected by the modern equivalent, the bullet-proof vest.

 

An enemy’s goal is the torso for the kill.  St. Paul is clear in his apostolic encouragement to put on the whole armor of  God is so,  “…you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.'(6: 10).  Luther picks up on this in his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”:

“The Old evil foe
Now means deadly woe
Deep guile and great might 
Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.

“With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected…”

Our own righteousness, our good deeds done by ourselves, is no breastplate against the devil’s schemes.  Even good works done in Christ is no breastplate.  It is His righteousness alone that is our breastplate.  Earlier in Ephesians, the Apostle  tells us, “…to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” The phrase “put on” can also be rendered, “clothe”, as when Paul wrote the Galatians (and us!), “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3-27).   Same phrase: put-on or clothe.  The new self is baptized self, created after the likeness of God who is Jesus Christ (see Colossians 1:15), and so Christ is our righteousness, His forgiveness of us all,  received in faith.  His righteousness alone can stop the devil’s schemes:

  • “If you were a real Christian…”  
  • “Everyone is doing it.”
  • “Go for it, she really likes you, your wife won’t mind…”
  •  “You deserve all the happiness in the world…”
  • “Do you really want to bring another child in the world, I know a real caring doctor who does abortions…”
  • “Don’t say anything that will upset the apple cart about what they’re teaching in your school district, they’re experts!”  

The onslaught of the “devil’s schemes” and the “powers and principalities” can not be stopped by our own efforts, only by His righteousness, can He protect our vital organs, the heart, that is the will, and the bowels, the place of emotion (In the Bible, the heart is the seat of the will and the bowels is seat of compassion:  the Greek word for “compassion” has its base, “splagma”, literally bowels!)  The devil goes for what is vital:  your heart and soul.  We do sin. The devil knows that.  But even more the Lord knows this so we repent and turn to Him for forgiveness.  Can you or I really stop the devil’s schemes on our own?

With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the valiant One,
Whom God himself elected.
Ask ye, Who is this?
Jesus Christ it is,
Of Sabaoth Lord,
And there’s none other God;
He holds the field forever.

Romans 1:17
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Jumping ahead to the end of the Whole Armor of God passage, Paul encourages the soldiers of Christ to do what?  Yes, pray.  The righteous live by faith active in prayer to believe and serve, as in “Our Father who art in heaven…” or “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” etc.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

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