Justified by faith. It is another battle cry of the Reformation. We will learn Sunday why this basic affirmation of Paul was so radical at the time. And we'll consider what makes it revolutionary today. We got a sense of that this past Sunday. We saw in the message a video by new member Andrew Dollard talking about the power of scripture and how God spoke afresh to him through these ancient words. If you didn't get a chance to see it, you can watch it here.
While we have separated these two important themes of the Reformation -scripture and grace- they were really inseparable. Luther, like Andrew Dollard, experienced grace that brought new life through scripture. Yet, it is important to understand them apart from each other. Grace, new life, justification is the experience of welcoming and receiving the hope that God brings to us. We don't have to be good enough to merit such a gift. God is not Santa Claus. We are justified by our faith, our trust, that this promise is true. Experiencing this promise means feeling a hope that life has possibilities we cannot find on our own.
The other day Andrew sent me a text and shared a Facebook post he received after Sunday morning. A law enforcement officer watched our service online. That person wrote: "My line of work has not made me a big believer in God, but through my father's sickness and death and listening to you, I feel a pull toward God in my heart. I want to thank you for having the courage and faith to (share) your testimony. It speaks to me more than you'll ever know."
Just call me a sucker for grace. I never tire of hearing about the way God speaks fresh hope to people and pulls us toward God. What a great line. That is what changed Martin Luther's life. He spent years trying to reach up to God and one day the reality broke through, God had been reaching down to him. And he's reaching out to you.
Join me Sunday as we celebrate getting found,