In the article “Grace Alone” in the September 2017 issue of Living Lutheran, theology professor John F. Hoffmeyer pointed readers to Colossians 3:3: “Your life is hidden with Christ in God.” “We can be assured that, in Christ, God refuses to live without us,” Hoffmeyer says. “Our lives are bound to Christ’s life—regardless. God regards us with the same unbounded love with which God regards Jesus” (Living Lutheran, September 2017, p. 45).
Something in those precious words clicked with me in a profound way, like with Martin Luther in his Tower Experience after reading Romans 1:17. Like Luther before me, I felt reborn in my faith.
It struck me that when God sees me, he doesn’t see just me, he sees Christ first, and then me, hidden with him. The concept of being hidden with Christ is compelling to me. I am part of him now because of his death and resurrection for me. I am forgiven, free and forever loved. I am embedded within him. No longer is my face the face people see first. It is now the face of Christ. And my life is behind that face of Christ.
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In the May 2017 issue of Living Lutheran, the cover included 16 images of the face of Christ from different artists. Editor Jennifer Younker noted, “When I look at the cover I’m amazed that, even though all the images are very different, I instantly recognize them as the face of Christ. Although each individual visual is influenced by its regional, ethnic and cultural lenses, the cover evokes the freedom and salvation we receive from Jesus Christ and shows that Christ’s love transcends all perceived physical differences” (Editor’s Note, Living Lutheran, May 2017, p. 4).
This cover and these comments got me to thinking about how I personally envision the face of Christ. For me, I picture a warm, loving, kind face smiling back at me with a look that says everything will be fine because he loves me.
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In his book In the Face of God, Michael Horton recounts a childhood memory of attempting to run up the “down” escalator, and uses that image as a metaphor for what we as Christians still wrongly attempt to do in our lives of faith.
While we know that the only way to salvation is for God to come down to us through his Son, Jesus (the “down” escalator), Horton says, we still make attempts to get closer to God on our own through what Martin Luther called the ladders of mysticism, merit and speculation (the “up” escalator).
We climb the ladder of mysticism when we try to reach out to God through our own emotions or our individual reflection and meditation. Continue reading →
On this Good Friday, when we focus on the cross, I would like to share with you a devotion I wrote a while back for one of our past periodicals Living the Gospel Life. May your observance of this day be faith-strengthening.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. 1 Cor 1:22-23
When my father graduated from the seminary, my mother gave him a ring with a cross at the center. But in his first weeks as a new pastor in Odell, Nebraska, a farmer observed, “You’re wearing that Continue reading →