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God’s Word for You

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 All in all

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, July 19, 2023

27 For “He has put everything under his feet.” But when it says, “everything is put under him,” clearly this does not include the one who put everything under him. 28 When everything is under him, then the Son himself will also be under the one who put all things under him, so that God may be all in all.

Here is an action that we children of democracy, citizens of the present republic, simply do not see or speak about. The vanquished is placed under the feet of the victor after a battle or a war, along with all other subjects who honor the victorious king. It took me almost no time at all to find six or seven examples of this in Shakespeare’s plays this morning. When a victorious general would lay an enemy or the spoils of war before his sovereign, he would show that he himself is subject to his king, and that his actions were done for love of his king and in service to him. This is what the act of Jesus laying everything under the Father’s feet is all about. Jesus is showing his service and obedience to the Father, and yet the Father placed everything under the feet of his Son, Jesus.

Luther points out that this is “very obscure,” but that these words “point out the difference which St. Paul makes between God’s kingdom and Christ’s kingdom, although in themselves they are one and the same kingdom. Now it is called Christ’s kingdom because we live in it by faith” (LW 28:141). So while the two kingdoms (the Father’s and the Son’s) are identical, the Father would have us think of ourselves as being in the Son’s kingdom, to focus our faith on the Son and all that he has done for us, and so we pay close attention to all of the things we confess about the Son in the Creed.

This is a reminder to us to focus our attention on the words and works of Jesus in our worship. It is not wrong, it surely pleases God, when we praise him for his creation, for the way that he cares for us through nature and through natural means. But the man who only focuses his worship on God as Lord over nature and not as the Savior from our sins will live out what I call a First Article faith, a faith that does not worry about sin, death, or the power of the devil; a faith that ignores Christ because it does not seek forgiveness at all. This is a faith, finally, that is either unrepentant or that is terrified. In either case, this is a limping faith that needs to hear the word of God.

Take the man who wants to carry his worship into the woods or lakes every Sunday and never sets foot in the church. Does he think that because he associates with an orthodox church from time to time, that he is saved by association? Jesus said to his disciple Peter: “You are Peter, and on this bedrock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). The bedrock Jesus spoke of is the confession that he, Jesus, is the Christ. “Being built upon Christ does not mean connecting onceself mechanically with the church, but putting one’s confidence in Christ and looking to obtain righteousness and salvation from him alone.” That man who thinks membership is all must be shown the Law. He must face his sins and be brought to his knees so that understands that he absolutely must have a Savior. Then he can be shown his Savior.

On the other hand, what about a man who is terrified of God, who is dragged down by the burden of a sin in his past that has ruined his present life, and who sees nothing ahead of him but a choice between an impossible existence on earth or a terrible choice that will lead him to death and damnation in hell? He is frightened of God. He must be shown the Gospel. He needs the Savior’s own fingertips to raise his chin; the nailprints in the Lord’s hands to show that the payment is finished. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,” God commanded his prophet. “Proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for” (Isaiah 40:2). The Lord says: “See, I have taken away your sin” (Zechariah 3:4). And the prophet says: “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). This brings us back to the idea of placing things underfoot; the conquerer showing the extent of his victory.

“All in all” is the consolation God gives to us in the gospel: the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection, life, salvation, the many mansions and other promises he makes. “All in all” or “everything to everyone” is God’s delightful place in our hearts. Luther says with his quick wisdom: “Picture to yourself all that you would like to have, and you will find nothing better and dearer and worth wishing for than to have God himself, who is the life and inexhaustible depth of everything good and of eternal joy. There is nothing more precious on earth than life. The whole world dreads nothing more than death and desires nothing more than life. And this treasure we are to have in him without measure and without end” (LW 28:146). All that we desire will be ours in Paradise, whether fields or streets or trees or tables of food, and the peace and serenity that is only possible where there is peace in God. Our worship is of the one who won this victory in our place, who handed it all to the Father, and who will raise us to everlasting life. For this is life in God; eternal and everlasting joy and joyful living. And it is all ours in Jesus.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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