Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
God's Gracious Gift of Doctrine
Advent marks the beginning of a new year in Church. As such, we have already begun celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For usually the Reformation is considered to have begun on October 31st in 1517, when Luther presented his 95 Theses against the trade of indulgences.
What we Lutherans are celebrating, however, is not the beginning of our history as a church of our own (which was never what the Lutheran Reformation was about, or even wanted!), as much as it is the restoration of the truth God has once and for all entrusted to His Church, which had at that time been forgotten for so long: that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” as God had had His Apostle Paul write it, “and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as an atoning sacrifice by His blood to be received by faith.”
It is common even among Christians in our day and age to consider doctrine unimportant. Well, it is common not to care about truth at all, so of course many will not care about the truth of God, either! Nevertheless, the truth of God is precious to us, as it must be precious to all who care about their eternal fate and future. And all people should. For obviously, nothing is more important than your eternal fate and future. And we all have enough reason to be concerned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
But “all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. Having had His Apostle write this, God declares us sinners to be right with Him, and free from sin and guilt before His judgement, in spite of our sins and shortcomings - as He does throughout Holy Scripture. And when we are right with Him who is Lord of all things, and the Master of reality itself, then all must be well. How can this truth not be a precious one? It must mean that even I, with all my sins and shortcomings, have the most glorious future ahead of me.
And this “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as an atoning sacrifice by His blood to be received by faith.” The Son of God suffered Himself under His judgement against all evil and ungodliness of ours to pay the price and penalty for us and make us righteous and right with Him. Could there be greater love? How can the Word of His love not be precious to us?
The truth of God is precious. And it is a gracious gift that He preserves this truth for us, so that we may know His love and His goodness.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem