Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Bethany Bullet-Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What six words do you suppose Luther would use to define the Reformation? “Before God we are all beggars.” Those were his dying words and certainly present the core truth of the Reformation. We don’t come into God’s presence with pride nor applause; we don’t bring with us a list of accomplishments nor a treasury of merits. Before God we can but bow in humility and confess that we deserve nothing. We can open our hands to receive His gifts of mercy, forgiveness, and righteousness without which we are indeed lost.

Ask a Luther scholar for six words and you’ll likely get a host of responses. “Here I stand, God help me.” After all, it was with those words that the reformation really began in earnest! Luther was called to recant or face penalty but said, “Unless I am shown from Scripture where I am wrong, I can’t recant. Here I stand, God help me.” Luther was convinced that:
• Scripture alone was the source of truth,
• God saved by His grace alone, apart from the works of man,
• And through faith alone did one apprehend God’s promises.

Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone - Those six words might be the offering of some scholars; few would suggest our parish theme verse for this month of “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.” They would be wise not to offer these words, unless they had previously explained Six Just Words that led to this Just Six Word response. We have. “By grace you have been saved.” We covered those six words and the September 30th bullet reviewed the teaching. God has done the saving! He has done so through the sacrifice He has offered, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.” (Romans 3:25) God, who demanded a sacrifice, has offered the sacrifice which He demanded, and now God invites us to offer a sacrifice as well. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.”

NOW, these six words might indeed be good ones to define the heart of the Reformation. With the certainty that God has saved us through the sacrifice of Christ, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. That he might work through us to bring the good news of Christ to our places of work and leisure and to our homes and schools.
• Offering our bodies as living sacrifices means understanding that the allotment of our days (our time),
• The abilities of our being (our talents),
• And our assets under management (our treasures)
These are all His as are our very lives. So in Reformation fashion we proclaim, “Here we go! God use us.”


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