Word from the Center Digest: October 25, 2019

As we Celebrate the Reformation. . .

Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz

In the coming days, the church will celebrate the Reformation, giving thanks for some 500 years of rejoicing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Martin Luther, who remains at the center of the Reformation, read the Bible and discovered that God has made Himself known to us as a God of love. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross as a sacrifice for sinful mankind. Jesus’ death paid the price for sin.

As such, the Reformation is summed up in a brief statement by Luther: “I must listen to the Gospel. It tells me, not what I must do, but what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done for me” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 2).  Because of Jesus, God turns toward humanity in love. God forgives all those who have faith in Jesus. After His death on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death for all those who believe in Him.

In the Reformation, Luther taught that humans don’t earn God’s love by trying to please Him. God’s love is a free gift because of Jesus. This is the good news of the Gospel. Faith in Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior gives forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

These answers address humanity’s needs. The individual’s standing before God and the perpetual battle against death are answered in Jesus Christ. He is God’s love. He conquered death. He reconciles you to God.

As we celebrate the Reformation, we’re looking back in this week’s Word from the Center Digest at a few of our favorite Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty posts on marriage, life, religious liberty and the freedom to love others around us on account of Christ. Happy Reformation!

  • Publicly, Loudly and Boldly: “Praise be to God that the United States of America have historically tolerated the preaching of the Gospel by long-standing laws and customs. Though religious liberty is not mandated in the Bible, we should see it as an important part of our appeal to federal and state governments to tolerate the Lutheran Church. We should hold civil authorities to their word that they, in the very least, will not hinder the proclamation of the truth of Jesus Christ.” Rev. David Ramirez explains here.
  • Four Ways Lutherans Can Engage the Public Square: “We are blessed with a theology that distinguishes the church from the state, and while we are citizens of both – with obligations and duties in both – our final home is elsewhere, with Christ.  While we are on this side of eternity, the chance to serve and love our country and our neighbor and our community is as depthless as the Lord’s love for us.” Tim Goeglein offers more insight here.
  • No One Should Have to Die from an Abortion: “Our Heavenly Father calls those little ones toward a place in His everlasting kingdom and sees them as part of His own family.  He loves zygote and fetus alike, not because of age or appearance or ability, but for the same reason He values mother and father: out of His Fatherly divine goodness, mercy and graciousness.” Read more from Rev. Michael Salemink here.
  • Freedom to Do Good: “Politics won’t save us. Money can’t give life meaning. Power and prestige, even education and technology, can be either a blessing or a curse. But living each day in the freedom that comes by faith in Christ and then looking for ways to love and serve those whom God brings into your path, that’s a way of life that endures forever.” Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz discusses true freedom in Christ.
  • Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage, Pro-Christ: “We’re heading into some dangerous waters. It’s no longer about the freedom to do what it is wrong and harmful; it’s about Christians no longer having the freedom to do what is right and helpful.” Read Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer’s take on remaining strong in both faith and confession!

Be Informed

Think the world has never been in more turmoil than it is now? Check out a timeline from the Reformation to see that Christians have always known the hard truth that God’s Word remains faithful, even when everything else is changing! Click here to view the timeline.

Be Equipped

Our friends at the Heritage Foundation have put together a brief guide to “to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.” Check it out here!

Be Encouraged

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor. The times are hostile to this. Public agencies . . . are becoming secularized and increasingly are actively promoting moral relativism. If ever there was a need for a resurgence of . . . generally religiously-affiliated schools – it is today.” – Attorney General William Barr, delivering a speech on religious liberty at Notre Dame