Video of the Divine Service is here. The sermon begins around the 20:25 mark.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today many Lutheran churches are celebrating this as Reformation Sunday, since it’s the closest Sunday to October 31 that’s not All Saints Day. We celebrate it as the beginning of the Reformation of Christ’s Church, even though many of the 95 Theses would seem foreign to Lutherans today, since some of them still assumed that purgatory existed and that indulgences simply needed to be rescued from how they were being abused. And while I think that June 25, the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession is a much bigger deal for us than October 31, still, it’s the most commonly recognized day for the beginning of the Reformation.
So we are reminded once again of the significance of salvation by grace through faith alone, the all-sufficiency of Christ for our justification, and the essential centrality of the written and preached Word of God, which testifies to the Word of God made flesh, Jesus. One of the other things on which we pride ourselves is the Scriptural teaching that human works contribute nothing to our salvation. Our salvation is one hundred percent accomplished and sustained by the work of God, and we receive it in faith. When it comes to the justification of sinners, there is no room for sinners contributing to that justification, because even the smallest contribution means just that much uncertainty about whether our salvation is really complete. This is the free and liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ, that because He has done everything and it really is complete, there is no doubt about whether there’s anything left for us to do to be right before God. You have been clothed with Christ, and you can’t be more perfect than Jesus; you can’t be more pleasing to God than His Son is to Him.Continue reading