We are gifted, graced, not because we are good but because God is good. Grace alone. We unwrap that gift through faith as we trust and accept the grace offered. It is not our works but our faith in Christ that is critical. Faith alone. How do we know this? We as mere mortals are limited by our humanity, our understanding of history and eternal principles. We have heard about grace and experienced changes through faith, but if we look up the list of churches, synagogues and mosques in our town we will know that the “voices of authority” are many and confusing.
In Luther’s time the Pope was the ultimate authority but he lived in a different country, spoke a different language and sometimes agreed and sometimes disagreed with the Popes who went before him. In Luther’s famous trial at the Diet of Worms when he was asked to recant and reject his writings and questioning of the religious system, he is famously quoted as saying
“Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require of me a simple, clear and direct answer, I will give one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is as clear as noonday that they have fallen into error and even into glaring inconsistency with themselves. If, then, I am not convinced by proof from Holy Scripture, or by cogent reasons, if I am not satisfied by the very text I have cited, and if my judgment is not in this way brought into subjection to God’s word, I neither can nor will retract anything; for it cannot be either safe or honest for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise; God help me! Amen.”
Luther believed in putting the Word of God into the hands of the ordinary people and so translated the Bible into German. He started confirmation classes for children and maintained that traditions and councils must base arguments on Scripture. Suddenly the individual was empowered to read scripture and have direct access to God. It is true that many flavors of Christianity have arisen from this freedom. Not all Protestants agree on scripture interpretations but they do agree on the authority of scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16 assures us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may bethoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Our acrostic today focuses on how scripture has us find our way.
Blessings. Enjoy “God”s Word” by Amy Grant.