As children we often resort to “my father’s stronger than your father” as an appeal to ultimate authority. As we age and face our mortality, the discussion evolves to which government has authority to decide fates and ultimately to beliefs about which gods have the most power over a situation. During the Reformation big existential questions of faith were debated. Yesterday we looked at how Luther claimed only Scripture that is “inspired, inerrant, and infallible” has authority over traditions that arise from humans who are fallible. He did not accept the infallibility of the Pope or Councils. Ultimately Scripture inspired by God gets the last word. That opened the door for denominations to disagree about interpretation and it opened the door of translation and the putting of Scripture into the language of the people. We live with those tensions and arguments today.
The second point of tension is summarized in “Christ Alone.” Jesus Christ and not Mary, some saint or some other deity, only Jesus is the sole mediator between God and his creation. Christianity is monotheistic, meaning that we only believe in the existence of one God and Jesus was the God/Man that opened the way of salvation to all by his death on the cross.
11 This Jesus is
“the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.”
12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:11 -12)
In Acts, Paul visits Athens and sees all the idols to the various Roman and Greek gods. Paul stood and addressed the Aeropaus. The statue dedicated to the “Unknown God” he equates to the God, the creator, and savior through Christ. We don’t use the word idol today but we look in various places for authority and power to resolve conflict. We spend much energy over politics, education, and the hunt for wealth. We are tempted to idolize that which is not a god.
At Halloween the tradition of wearing costumes originated in the belief that on the eve of All Saints day, spirits could roam the world and harass people they had trouble with in life and so wearing costumes was to deceive these spirits. Christ Alone says that we need not fear the spirits of the dead. Dead people do not return to life. Christ is stronger than all evil that can seek to undermine our faith.
Today we might reflect on what we look to when we feel anxious, insecure, or vulnerable. Is God our “first port” in a storm or an afterthought? There is no other name under heaven… Let us thank him that we can be on first name basis with him and because of his incarnation, his taking on of humanity, he really understands us. Thank you, Lord.