Pastor's Message - 2018 October Newsletter

by Pastor Jon Anderson

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.”


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 we have been hearing from James in our Second Lesson, including the above verse-“faith without works is dead”. So, 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’re 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. We are not only forgiven by grace, but we are restored to new life, made new creatures, Paul says in another place. These new creatures that we are becoming are creatures who live according to God’s law-not as something outside of them, but as something written on their 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 Him-on the Cross He did everything necessary to bring you to eternal life, and we celebrate this at Reformation, and every time we gather around Word and Sacrament.

© 2018 Prairie Faith Shared Ministry
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