Thu, Oct 31st 2013, 08:00 PM
By SANCHESKA BROWN
Thu, Oct 31st 2013, 03:48 PM
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. - Romans 3:21-25a
Sunday past we celebrated Reformation Sunday. Today, Thursday, October 31, is Reformation Day. Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, and a professor of theology, nailed his 95 Theses (on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences) on the doors of the church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.
Four hundred and ninety-six years ago, the church was in a fight for the supremacy of God's word. Today we are still fighting. Then, it was a few who dared to stand up against church authorities.
In our world today, the evil forces are using the state and forces in the church to dethrone God's word. They are tearing away from the very foundation of the church, God's word. Notwithstanding this, God's word is God's word, and it cannot change. It will not change. Mankind may say and do what he pleases; God's word and the church will prevail.
Luther's word to the church leaders of his day was that we should look to God for our salvation, not the traditions of man. Saving grace comes to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.
In the above text, the apostle points out that we cannot save ourselves through our good deeds. We do not come to saving grace because of our good deeds.
When it comes to God's righteousness, we cannot meet his standard. It does not matter how good we think we are. Scripture tells us in Isaiah 64:6: "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags ..."
The best of us cannot on our own meet God's standard. The text tells us that we all fall short; "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Because we fall short, we need Jesus. Consequently, God gives us Jesus, his son, our safety net.
Jesus through his suffering, death and resurrection, makes all who believe in him righteous before God. We are justified. What does it mean to be justified?
To justify means to declare righteous, make one right with God. Justification is God's declaration that all who receive Christ Jesus as their Lord and savior to be righteous. God does this not because we are so good, but because he loves us so much.
Someone told a story about two young brothers who were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One boy ran after the other up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly.
When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?"
The child replied, "I'm standing on his shoulders."
With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother's life.
That is what God did for us humans in Jesus Christ. Jesus is our foundation for new life. He died a cruel death that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Scripture tells us, "For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only Son to die to save us"[John 3:16].
In the Reformation, Luther helped the church to see God's love for his creation. God's word guides us to Christ. His word shows us that he is just, gracious, loving, compassionate and that he wants the best for us.
That is the point of the Reformation. Jesus Christ is the answer. When we place our faith in Jesus our Savior, God, declares us righteous. Yes, a man is justified by faith. That's from the inerrant word of God, which is the benchmark of life and faith.
Therefore, even though hordes of demons may seek to destroy the foundation of our faith, God's word, stay grounded to and adhere to that word. God's word is supreme. It trumps all human rules. When there is a conflict between God's word and man's rules, choose God's word. Amen.
o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.
Thu, Oct 31st 2013, 03:42 PM