Understanding The Distinction Between The Two Kingdoms; An Art Of The Church’s Confession

young-generation-1177731-mBy: Rev. Joshua Reimche

It all started in the Garden, or rather, it began most immediately on the east steps of Eden. Husband and wife feared, loved and trusted the Tempter above all things, and so they sinned, failing God and thus collapsing on each other. Spiritual death was their instant inheritance, physical death their eventual wages, but the immediate pain was the loss of their home, lovingly created and fashioned for them as a free gift, the concrete form of God’s gracious giving. I wonder if Adam and Eve looked back over their shoulder at the Cherubim with the flaming sword as they walked away, knowing that they would never see that perfect world again. Did they tell their kids what it was like for that brief, glorious time to live in the Garden, where things were perfect, where God alone was God, and where they enjoyed simply being in His presence? Probably, they were human after all, and regret and longing for what was lost is part of the human condition of sin that first set in on the east side of Eden.

Ever since then things have never been right. It’s either too cold or too hot, too wet or too dry, too calm or too windy, abundant or sparse, beautiful or ugly. And when it seems like things just might be as close to perfect as they get outside of Eden, we hold our dying breath, waiting, somehow knowing that it won’t last long. Perhaps that feeling is a memory of the image of God that we lost and an inborn desire to regain what was robbed.

And so ever since the day that holy Cherubim drew his flaming sword, safeguarding the way to the Tree of Life, mankind has been seeking in vain to find the forbidden steps to Eden and to return to the paradise we were created to live in and enjoy in God’s presence. A paradise we have been barred from due to our terminally sinful condition, lest we eat and live forever as the ever-dead but never-dying zombies of Eden’s fall into the blackness of death.

However, that protective sword of mercy has been sheathed in the stone of Golgotha and transformed into the cross of Calvary. Not just the blood of man, but of God in human flesh, flowed from the cross with the watery flood of grace and pardon, and Eden’s gates are no longer barred shut to the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. In Jesus Christ, God has washed us clean from the stain of sin and filled our death with His life. As the heavens opened above the waters of the Jordan, the Father spoke, and the Spirit descended upon His dearly beloved Son, even so in Holy Baptism the waters of the font flowed over you in a flood of forgiveness. The heavens were opened, the Spirit descended, and the Father named you His own dear child. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

About Pastor Matt Richard

Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church of Gwinner, ND. He was previously a Senior Pastor in Sidney, Montana, an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care and Youth Ministries in Williston, North Dakota, and an Associate Pastor of Children and Youth in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He received his undergraduate degree from Minot State University, ND and his M.Div. from Lutheran Brethren Seminary, MN. His doctor of ministry thesis, from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, was on exploring the journey of American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought. Pastor Richard is married to Serenity and they have two children. He enjoys fishing, pheasant hunting, watching movies, blogging, golfing, spending time with his family and a good book with a warm latte! To check out more articles by Pastor Matt you can visit his personal blog at: www.pastormattrichard.com.

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