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Bible Study at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Lodi, Ohio, on August 25, 2013.
The premise: When a dwelling is flood-damaged, cleanup by wiping the mud off the walls with a cloth is often insufficient. Flooring may be damaged, walls may be water-logged, mold and mildew may set in. Moses called this "the leprosy in the house" (Leviticus 14:34ff) and prescribed drastic measures to deal with it.
This presentation suggests that when Saint Paul refers to "whatever belongs to your earthly nature " (Colossians 3:5), we think of them as "the leprosy of the house." The labels "Sexual immorality," "lust," and so forth are not intended to correlate with the type of damage shown in the accompanying photo, but rather to illustrate the degree of damage to which that type of "leprosy" is capable.
Similarly, as Leviticus calls for drastic measures in eliminating the "leprosy" rather than merely covering it over, Saint Paul calls for the drastic measure of "putting to death whatever belongs to the earthly nature." The second step is the transplant of new material into the place of the old. This is where Saint Paul lists the attributes the Christians should "clothe themselves" with. However, as in continuing with our analogy of the flood-damaged house I want to make it clear that these new items Paul lists are not merely articles of fashion or clothing, but tools, garments, equipment and supplies we will need to do the work of removing the "leprosy in the house" and restoring / healing the house. Simply put, the goal is not merely to "put on" these various saintly attributes, but to put them on to do the difficult work of building a residence for Christ in the formerly flood-damaged home of the heart.
As before, there is no correlation between the saintly label and the actual tool, supply, garment, or piece of equipment illustrated. These are simply illustrations that in this analogy these characteristics are to be thought of as tools provided by God for our restoration.
Please note that Martin Luther suggests (in his Small Catechism's section on Holy Baptism) that this relentless putting to death and reconstruction needs to happen on a daily basis.