Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trinity 13

Galatians 3:15-22 - Trinity XIII - August 25, 2013

What the Law Can Do for You

Our salvation is extra nos.  That’s Latin for ‘outside of us.’  They don’t require that we learn Latin at the seminary, but there are a number of Latin phrases that any Lutheran pastor worth his salt cannot help but have had drilled into his head.  Now, you don’t have to learn the terminology like I did, but you had better learn the concept.  Extra nos.  Outside of us.  The moment that one begins to require that certain conditions be met within the sinner by the sinner in order for him to be saved is the moment that the gospel is completely denied and turned into something that it’s not, namely, the law.  Our salvation is outside of us.  Because it begins and ends with God’s pure love toward sinners.  Period.  What God planned for us from eternity to rescue us from our sin and from his wrath God accomplishes outside of our control. 
And thank God.  We’re not as reliable as he is.  The fact that he is in control of the most important need in our life is of great comfort to the Christian.  That is, of course, if we know the character of this great God in control.  And we do.  He loves.  He speaks kindly to those who have wronged him.  He forgives.  He keeps his promises.  We see his character clearly revealed toward us in the vicarious death of his Son Jesus Christ who on the cross atoned for all our sins.  The same thing that teaches us that God is good and loving also teaches us what God has accomplished.  It is where our Savior said, “It is finished.”  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Trinity 12

Mark 7:31-37 - Trinity XII - August 18, 2013 
Sharing Our Faith

Jesus was walking through a region of Judea where the population consisted mostly of Gentiles.  This means that they didn’t have the word of God.  That’s what made them Gentiles.  They had notions of God, of course.  But their notions were false, because the gods they invented were crafted in their own hearts.  They learned what they thought they knew about God by consulting their feelings and experiences rather than by listening to what God actually said.  Needless to say, their source of information was flawed.  And since they had a flawed understanding of who God was, naturally they also had a flawed understanding of what to expect God to do. 
Of course, they knew God was powerful.  This much they knew – what he could do.  But who doesn’t know this much?  You don’t need Scripture to tell you this.  Look at the earth and sky.  Notice the intricate design of the plant and animal world around us.  Look at how fearfully and wonderfully made everything is.  Seeing God’s handiwork certainly tells you a lot about God.  But it won’t tell you his will for your life.  The most important thing you need to learn about God can only be learned by listening to what he says to you.