Assistance Against Our Enemies
Last week I wrote about how sin is the reason for all the separation, alienation, and animosity in the world between fellow human beings. This week I want to write about how sin attacks us in at least three ways.
In his Small Catechism, Dr. Luther sums up the attack against us by describing a threefold enemy. Luther speaks of the devil, the world, and our sinful self. You may have also heard the “sinful self” described with the words “flesh” or “carnal.”
It is important to understand that two of these attacks come from outside of us. Just so, we can appropriately describe ourselves as being victims, for we are attacked by the devil and by the world. You can say that we have been victimized! We are especially victimized by way of temptation from these two related sources. The voice of the devil is full of lies. They are often half-truths which make their falsehood all the more seductive. The world is also full of voices, the collective voices of individuals that have given in to the lies of the devil. This means that we are constantly bombarded by lies morning, noon, and night – 24/7.
Now the fact that we have been victimized does not then make us innocent. It did not pass muster when Adam and Eve claimed “the devil made me do it.” The devil surely tempted them. He lied to them. He made false promises. He called God’s goodness into question. But he did not make them sin! It was the doubt from within, the distrust of God’s goodness and the reliability of His word, and the desire to be god that resulted in human disobedience. This is the work of the flesh.
When we repent and come to faith in Christ, we need His assistance against the devil and the world. But we also need to come clean and acknowledge our responsibility for sinning, and our need for forgiveness.
Since You Asked…
Why Is the Pastor Using cruets to both fill the Communion Chalice and then to cleanse it afterward?
You may have noticed the Pastor using a little water from a cruet poured into the chalice, swirled around to mix with the remaining drops of wine, and consumed by the Pastor at the conclusion of administering Holy Communion. This is one way to reverently handle the remaining communion element of the cup. And there is a practical benefit. The longer wine sits in precious metal vessels, the more it begins pitting the surface. By adding wine when needed to the chalice, and then consuming soon after the slight remains with a little water, the metal is preserved.