Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
Still all about Jesus
“Reformation 2017 – It's still all about Jesus.” This is the slogan under which the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod celebrates the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. And it is a very fitting slogan, indeed, even though Martin Luther most probably had not himself seen that this would be the most important result of what began with his first appearance on the world scene – as public life in the German-Roman Empire at that time might rightly be called.
For exactly this would become what was most important about Luther and the Reformation: that it is all about Jesus.
Of course the Church at that time could have argued that it had always been all about Jesus, since it was Him the Church of the pope claimed to be serving in all its efforts to teach people to live right, as well as in all its efforts to dominate society; as so many churches today will say that it is all about Jesus in that it is by doing good for Him that they teach Christians to make themselves righteous and right with God so as to be worthy of eternal life.
What was new about the Reformation, however, was the realisation that the salvation taught by Holy Scripture is even more all about Jesus! The salvation of sinners is what He Himself has done, rather than what sinners should do for Him. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as an atoning sacrifice by His blood to be received by faith,” as it is written in the Letter to the Romans. In other words, the Son of God has borne the punishment for all sin in His sufferings and death, and paid the price in full; and on that account God promises full and complete forgiveness for all sin to all sinners, and with His promise His salvation is given to us, to be received by believing His promise.
This, of course, was not really all new; it was always the teaching of Holy Scripture. And it was what the Christian Church had taught up until the Middle Ages, when theologians became so entangled in philosophy that the Church forgot.
This precious truth was always the heart of the Christian faith. When it was rediscovered at the time of the Reformation, it became the heart of faith and life in what was to become the Lutheran Church. And it still is. It is not about us, how good we are, and how we can become better and do more good. It is all about Jesus, what He has done for us, and what He gives to us. It always was. It still is.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem