From Living Word Newsletter

  • Living Word Family,
    We have just finished our series on the “5 Solas of the Reformation” and have spent the past month remembering the distinctives of our Lutheran heritage of Word Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Christ Alone, and All to the Glory of God Alone. As we come into this Thanksgiving season, I am so thankful for this foundation. It serves to remind us of the fundamentals of salvation and the timeless truths of the Word of God.
    As the early Lutherans expressed so well, it is through faith in this declared Word that one receives the forgiveness of sin and becomes righteous in the sight of God. It is not through one’s work, one’s merit, or one’s satisfaction, but only through faith in God’s promise:
    It is taught that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness in his sight, as Paul says in Romans 3:21–26 and 4:5. (Kolb and Wengert, The Book of Concord, p. 38-40)
    This faith, which is central to Lutheran theology, is produced in a specific way—through the Holy Spirit’s use of the Word of God and the sacraments:
    To obtain such faith God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when he wills, in those who hear the gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe. (Kolb and Wengert, The Book of Concord, p. 40)
    Here at Living Word, this then is our calling as a congregation and my specific role as pastor—to proclaim the Word. This same admonition is given from Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, when he tells Timothy to “preach the Word.” While this is my specific job as pastor, God has equipped each of this with this Word and has placed us in situations where we can tell people about the grace and mercy of God!
    As you realize those opportunities, I want to encourage you that this Word is powerful and effective—able to transform lives and save men’s souls. May we continue to set forth this Word—the Word of Life—to a dark and dying world in need of a Savior!
    Only Jesus,
    Rev. Nathan Olson