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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Assurance of Salvation

Not long ago, I was reading a book by Daniel Preus,Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center. And he said that one thing that always challenges or frustrates him as a pastor is when you ask your flock, "Are you going to go to heaven?" and they answer "I hope so." He makes the point that we can know; we can be certain. And that's not because we have perfect faith that never wavers, but because God's promises are sure.

There is another side to this coin too, similarly related. When you ask Christians if they are going to go to heaven, many will say "Yes, definitely." But then ask them, "Why?" Some will say things like, "Because I love Jesus and gave my heart to him." That's great. I'm glad YOU did that. But is that the reason why you are saved? Because YOU love Jesus and YOU gave yourself to him? Isn't the reason really because HE loves you and HE gave himself for you on the cross?

We are saved BY grace, THROUGH faith. Not BY our faith. In other words, salvation is God's gift to you through Christ. That's by grace alone. Martin Luther described faith as the open hand that receives the gift of God. We don't have faith in our faith. We have faith in Christ and him crucified.

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3 comments:

Tim Kuehn said...

It goes even further than that - everything that we have, all that we think we "own" - is all from Him.

People just don't realize how dependent all manking is on their Lord and Creator for everything.

"You don't support the vine, the vine supports you."

Pr. Alex Klages said...

Pr. Stiegemeyer,
This post reminds me of the "the heart is a rusty tin can" scene from The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz... where the old pastor reminds the young pastor that our heart is certainly nothing worth giving to Jesus, but Jesus takes it, rescues it from the junk heap, and makes it worth something.

I love Lutheran theology. God drives the verbs!

Carl said...

May I have your permission to print
this in a future bulletin and/or
newsletter.

Thanks!

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