Posted on Aug 02, 2017 by Pastor Dave Whetter
As I mentioned in my last letter, this year marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. One of the major reforms that came out of this Reformation was the practice of reading Scripture in one’s own native language. Martin Luther believed that if God’s Word was going to be accessible to God’s people, then it needed to be translated into the people's native language. In fact, during the time Luther was sequestered in Wartburg (1521-1522), he spent most of that time translating the New Testament from Greek to German. Since that time, Lutherans all over the world have heard the Word of God in their native languages.
For Luther, the only infallible source of God’s Word was the Scriptures. The Latin phrase sola scriptura is a foundational Lutheran Reformation confession that means that the Scriptures, rightly understood, are the sole authority and basis for our faith and practices as Christians. To confess “solo scriptura” is to say that we won’t rely on human works or efforts to gain righteousness before God. In fact, Luther would come to teach that we are justified by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fida), in Christ alone (solus Christus).
For me, this a powerful understanding of who I am and where my way of believing comes from, and a great reminder that I need to make time every day to read Scripture. I don’t need to read Scripture to be saved, because I am already saved. By reading Scripture, I am reminded and come to better understand that through the gift of Christ, God provided for my, and your, salvation. It is a faith story that tells about a loving God who, in Christ, becomes incarnate, that becomes flesh like you and me, to reveal His love — a love that is most evident in the cross.
From a Lutheran perspective, the essence of Scripture is God’s unconditional love for humanity as revealed in the works or merits of Christ alone on the cross. We find acceptance before God through the merits of Christ and his saving work alone. It is this saving word alone that justifies the sinner by grace alone through faith alone. The Word of God is love incarnate in the person of Jesus.
Now, I am sharing all this with you not because I am trying to sneak in a confirmation lesson, although that never hurts, but as a reminder of how important it is for us, as followers of Jesus, to make time in our lives for God’s Word. My prayer this week is that each of us begins to make time every day, five minutes would be awesome, to read the Scriptures. They are the one true source of God’s Word, and they are the cradle that hold the Gospel, as Luther would say. Take time this week to give yourself a gift, a gift that will fill you with joy, promise, and hope.
Have a blessed week & Shalom, Pr. Dave