A Message from the Pastor
Martin Luther wrote, “All those who consider themselves secure in their salvation through letters of indulgence [which they have paid for] will be damned.” Harsh words, but Luther had become flabbergasted and despondent that the people were placing their faith for their salvation in their money and the little pieces of paper that it bought, rather than on Christ and the cross, and Luther correctly pointed out, that this was nothing short of idolatry.
Well, here we are in the year 2020 and little has changed in the 500 or so years since Luther penned those words.
Now, admittedly folks aren’t necessarily running around and buying indulgences, but they certainly still do put their faith in their money, possessions, abilities, and supposed good deeds. I can’t tell you how many funerals I’ve seen or obituaries I’ve read that spoke very little about Jesus but a whole lot about so-and-so and that they’ve “earned” their “wings.” But the truth of the matter is, all any of us has really earned is hell. Isaiah speaking for God declares that anything we think is good is in actuality nothing but a filthy rag in the sight of the Lord because everything we do…everything…it tainted by sin.
When we think we’re “good” the fact is, we’re comparing ourselves to other sinful people. Not exactly a great measurement for attaining heaven. The Scriptures inform us that the “real” measure by which all people will be assessed is Christ. Are you as perfect as him? If not…here’s the news from the Bible…you’re not getting into heaven.
Furthermore, the Bible clearly states that there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves, that this can only be accomplished by God and this is stated clearly in St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians were he wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”
So, if my efforts, even the “good ones,” my money and talent account for and contribute nothing towards my salvation, what’s a person to do? Believe! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!
The news of the Reformation is that trying to attain heaven on your own is like a dog chasing its tail…you’ll never get there. Rather, Christ freely hands to us “his perfect life” from the cross so that when we show up at heavens door, we will be measured and be found to be as perfect as Christ and that is the only condition that God will accept. Believe that…take hold of this offer from God…and you shall be admitted into heaven.
This has been a tough year for all of us but starting this month the Lutheran Church will begin its “festival season” beginning on October 25th and our worship service celebrating the Reformation and Luther’s re-discovery of the Gospel. I hope to see you all at this celebration.
Serving our Savior,