Going Deeper 10-24-19

The second reading for Reformation Sunday…

Romans 3:19-28   Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.  For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.  But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.  For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.  He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.  Then what becomes of boasting?  It is excluded.  By what law?  By that of works?  No, but by the law of faith.  For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

 

I sometimes refer to the importance of remembering that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  And this text, so important to Martin Luther and other reformers, points to the main thing: salvation/justification by grace through faith, apart from works of the law.  This is absolutely fundamental Christian doctrine. 

 

If you have been or will be challenged to briefly explain why you are a Christian, this text provides a helpful outline.

I am not a Christian because of my goodness.  “All (including/especially me) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
My attempts at obedience contribute nothing to my salvation.  We “are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.”
I am a child of God because of His loving action.  “He justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.”
 

So, if all of this is true, why do we even bother with obedience?  Why not just ignore the law altogether?  Because we love God.  We love because He first loved us.  Filled with gratitude and inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we seek to connect more and more fully with Jesus, and to live more and more fully in His way.  And we learn that the more we are re-created and transformed back into the image of God in which we were originally created, the more meaningful and joyful and peaceful our life becomes.

 

That about sums it up!

 

With You in His Love,


Mark Gabbert, Pastor​
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."