October is the month we celebrate Reformation Day, commemorating the day that Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg church. One of the priceless scriptural teachings that came out of the reformation is the distinction between God's Law and Gospel. Luther demonstrated clearly that the scope of God's Law is all-inclusive. St. Paul says, "All have sinned and fall short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23). Before the bar of God's Law that demands perfect obedience, we all stand condemned, for we all have sinned; we all have rebelled against our Creator. Where the Law holds sway, none may offer excuses or works of personal morality or "decisions for Christ," or any other man-made hope, for all stand accused and all stand convicted.
Fruitless also are the efforts of sinners who attempt to use the Law as a ladder by which they hope to climb to heaven. God did not give His law to be the means of our salvation, but rather to make us "conscious of sin."
Left with the Law, our doom would be certain.
But thanks be to God, for He does the impossible. This is the core of Paul's words. Just as "all have sinned and fall short of God's glory," says St. Paul, so all "are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." With the Law there are no exceptions: all are accused. With Calvary, there are no exceptions: all are justified. Jesus "is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). None may say that their sins are too small for the Law, for the Law condemns even the slightest sin. Yet, neither may one say that his sins are too great for Calvary, for Christ's saving death is all encompassing.
Furthermore, God has placed no price tag on this priceless gift. This grace of God is utterly free. It flows freely from the cross where our Savior paid the debt of human sinfulness, "not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death," as Luther wrote in the Small Catechism. Because of the atoning death of His Son, God delivers a verdict that the world considers impossible: the declaration that we are forgiven, freely forgiven, for the sake of Christ!
A blessed Reformation Day to you all!
As Christís servant in your midst,
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