Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Bethany Bullet - Week of June 25, 2017

Sermon: “What’s the ‘Therefore’ There For?”

Some incorrectly assume that with his advice to, “sin boldly;” Luther was giving an affirmative to St. Paul’s rhetorical question, asked in the 6th chapter of his letter to the Romans, “Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase.” God overflows with grace and mercy, we are filled with error and iniquity; God abounds in forgiving, we excel at transgressing – a perfect match, therefore, “sin boldly!”

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth!  Luther was doing to things when he wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon, “remember God does not save false sinners….let your sins be strong (sin boldly) but let your trust in Christ be stronger still (even more bold).”  Luther was first of all addressing any self righteous notions that could lead one to think that they were somehow more worthy of God’s grace and blessings than others; or at the very least that others were somehow more deserving of God’s judgment than they were.  Sin boldly, i.e. admit your guilt, don’t try to cover it up, claim that it is somehow less serious than it is and that you are somehow more righteous that others are.  Second, Luther was reminding his friend that there is no trespass for which Christ was not crucified; no transgression which He cannot forgive, no sin that He cannot cast as far as east is from west; sin boldly but trust Christ even more boldly; i.e. don’t doubt that Jesus’ grace is sufficient and that His righteousness is your righteousness

Luther’s advice to his friend is good advice for us, this summer and throughout our lives, it reminds us to take our eyes off ourselves and fix them squarely on Jesus.  It reminds us that even our best, is tarnished with sin, and our good works but filthy rages before God.  It reminds us that we are not free to do whatever we please nor can we do anything to make ourselves pleasing to God, He is pleased with us solely on account of Christ and it is His good pleasure to redeem, restore and rescue us in Christ. 

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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