October 2020
From the Pastor

Romans 3:27-28 --- "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."

James 2:25 --- "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead."

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Reformation Sunday is coming, and the verses cited above from Romans will again be read.  We will celebrate Luther’s discovery that our salvation depends not on works, but on the grace and mercy of God.  Yet lately, I seem to have been challenged quite a bit from lay folks and clergy from other denominations with the text from James that says --- "faith without works is dead".  But wait!  Paul says, "we are justified by faith, apart from works"; but James says, "faith without works is dead".  Are these apostles contradicting each other?  How can we say that we are saved by grace through faith alone, if "faith without works is dead"? Could they both be right?  If so, how?

The answer lies in what the grace of God does for us. Paul says in another place, we are not only forgiven by grace, but we are restored to new life, made new creatures. We are becoming new creatures who live according to God’s law-not as something outside of ourselves, but as something written on our hearts, deep within.  In other words, we do good works, not because we have to; not because we’re afraid of what God might do to us, but because we want to. Because we love God, we do them naturally, sometimes without even knowing what we’re doing.

Putting too much emphasis on works causes us to put our faith ultimately not in God, but in ourselves; in our ability to do what we should. As we trust God, we are led by Him into good works, as it states in Ephesians 2:8-10, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God --- not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."

So if you ever wonder if you’re doing enough, know that God will lead you into what He has designed you to do --- and know that your salvation depends not on you, but on Christ.  On  the cross Christ did everything necessary to bring you to eternal life, and we celebrate this at Reformation, and every time we gather around Word and Sacrament.

In the peace of Christ,

Pr. Paul <><

p.s. Did you know?  We have had wonderful success with our monthly movie night even during this time of Covid-19.  For the month of October, we are going to change things up a bit and bring some humor into our lives.  The feature presentation will be The Ghost and MrChicken (1966).  As only Don Knotts can do, he takes on figuring the answers to the mystery that lies in the old Simmons mansion.  Luther Heggs (Don Knotts) visits the estate at midnight. Certain he's seen a ghost, Luther writes a story which makes the town’s front page news - and brings on a libel suit from the mansion's owner.  Showing on Thursday, October 15 @ 6:30 p.m.  Please come and join us for a great movie and wonderful fellowship.

p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ???  "Should anyone knock at my heart and say "Who lives here?"  I should reply, "Not Martin Luther but the Lord Jesus Christ."