Reformation Sunday – October 30, 1016
Pastor Don Ninmer - Romans 3:19-28
(20)-“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin...(22-24) - This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus...(27-28) - Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. (Romans 3:20, 22-24,27-28)
Dear Children of God: All of you men have heard about the “honey do” list. Right? I am currently about 12 years behind on our list. Many times in our lives we use lists. We look at a list of the remaining football games. Only we don’t call it a list, we call it a schedule. The teacher might give to the students a list of things and projects that they need to accomplish in the semester.
When I went to work at a restaurant (I was a short order cook) there was always a list from Lamar my boss. When things were slow at the restaurant, we always had a list of things to do. Often on top of the list was: Clean the bathrooms. A church or school often has a wish list. People make shopping lists. And so we could go on and on. We often live our lives according to lists. As we get older, these lists become more important. Today they are often kept on the computer. Do you have a list of things that you want to do?
Let us suppose that when you came into church today the ushers would have handed you a list. It would not be a list that deals with your daily schedule. It would not be a list of the games of the Badgers that are televised. The top of the list would say: Things that YOU need to do to get to heaven. What do you think would be on that list?
Well I would guess that the list would include things like this: You must do so many good works. You must repeat so many prayers. You must make a pilgrimage to a certain part of the world to earn God’s favor. You must give a certain amount of money to receive forgiveness for a certain amount of sins.
Or imagine this: You are attending the funeral of a loved one who believed in Jesus. At the funeral the pastor said: Your loved one may have believed in Jesus, but that is not enough. He still has to suffer in fire to receive the full forgiveness of sins. You have to do certain things to help get him out of that fire. Even though he confessed Jesus with his last breath, we don’t know if he is in heaven or hell, or somewhere in between for thousands of years.
What if I told you that Jesus died for all of our sins, but you can never be sure of complete forgiveness? You still have to work to earn the grace of God. That is the situation that Martin Luther faced in the world and in the church at the time of the Reformation. People were never sure that their sins were forgiven and that they were going to heaven.