God is For Us

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 (ESV)

This is great news! God is for us, not against us. If a vengeful and wrathful God is what you seek, you must look somewhere other than Christ. For God gave up Christ to be crucified for us as an act of love. The Incarnation of Christ and His subsequent crucifixion and resurrection is all the proof we need that God is definitely for us.

Not only so, but this is the definitive proof that God has given us. We needn't look elsewhere to seek out God. Only in Christ is where He will be found. God does not desire for us to look elsewhere. We do not need dreams. We do not need visions. We do not need to raise someone from the dead, talk gibberish, or experience any other charismatic mania to know that God is for us. He has sent His Son to die for us and rise again, defeating Satan, sin, and death in one fell swoop.

Moreover, it is a surety. God has done it all and continues to do it all. Christianity is not a religion of ladder climbing, where God weighs our good against our bad and then makes an infallible judgment call on the quality of our lives. Whereas good works are very important to Christianity, they are never able to merit us any sort of standing or favor before God.

Instead, Jesus Christ comes to be born in a manger with animals around Him, lives a perfect life fulfilling the law on our behalf, and then dies for our sins and rises again. Continuing into today and throughout history until He returns, He will continue to save people through His powerful creative Word, given to us in the preaching of the Gospel, the Sacraments, and the Office of the Keys which He instituted.

Christ came and lived, died, and rose for you due to nothing good in yourself. (1 Cor 15:1-4, Jer 17:9, Rom 3:10-12)

God is for us.

The good news of this life, death, and resurrection is preached to you. (Rom 10:9-17)

God is for us.

You are forgiven of your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (John 20:23)

God is for us.

He washes us in the waters of Holy Baptism and buries us and raises us in faith. (Rom 6:3-4, Col 2:12, Gal 3:27, Tit 3:5)

God is for us.

He gives us His true body and blood to nourish us, forgive our sins, and deliver to us life and salvation. (Mat 26:26-28)

God is for us.

And best of all, He is for all of us. desiring the salvation of everyone. (1 Tim 2:4-6, 2 Pet 3:9)

God is for us. All of us. Even you.



The Love of God is Found in Christ Alone

Staupitz: Martin, what is it you seek?

Luther: A merciful God. A God whom I can love. A God who loves.

Staupitz: Then look to Christ. Bind yourself to Christ, and you will know God's love. Say to Him, 'I am yours, save me.'

That is a scene from the movie Luther (2003). The young Augustinian monk Martin Luther is terrified of God. He hates God because all Luther sees is judgment and condemnation. Luther knows quite well that he is a sinner.

All of this is to say that Staupitz knew, and the young Martin Luther knew later, that the love of God is found in Christ alone.

There are a few different doctrinal things going on here. There is the love of God, but also there is God's wrath against sin and the topic of children of God. Much of this should be pretty easy to hash out.

First, God's love is found only in Christ and Him alone. More specifically, this love manifests itself in Christ's active and passive obedience on our behalf. St. John writes about this in his Gospel as well as the Epistle of 1 John. There are parallel verses here.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

This famous and oft-quoted verse is telling us not necessarily how much God loves us, but how God loves us. He does so by giving the Son, Christ. To put it in a very simple manner we can say: How does God love us? The answer is, that he gave His only begotten Son. This idea is paralleled in 1 John.

1 John 4:9-10: In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

In a way, 1 John 4 is even more to the point. How did God love us? "...God sent His only Son into the world...In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son..."

Thus, we see that the love of God is wrapped up wholly in Christ and His work.

That brings us to our next topic: sin and the wrath of God against sin. Let us put it clearly: God hates sin. In fact, God hates those who actually sin. Without Christ and His work, God's wrath abides on us all.

Psalm 5:5: The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

Psalm 11:5: The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Ephesians 2:1-3: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

God hates sin. It is a violation of His Law and sin must be dealt with because God is Holy and Just. Humans are sinners. Based on nothing but us and our actions, God would have nothing but wrath towards us. All of us.

But God loves us. Not because of us, but because of Christ, the atonement for our sins. He loves us in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29).

Two things now must be answered. First, we have to determine who the children of God are. Is everyone a child of God? Christ died for everyone, right? Per Scripture, the answer to that is no, not everyone is a child of God. Yes, Christ died for everyone and yes, in Christ God loves everyone. But the term child of God is reserved for those who receive Christ only.

John 1:12-13: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Here is our clear answer. Those who receive Christ are the children of God. There are numerous other passages in Scripture that speak of the concept of children of God. All of them are speaking only of those who are in Christ. None of them speak of all humanity.

The reason I discuss this topic is because it is quite popular now to say that everyone is a child of God. And per the Scriptures that is not true. It is true that God loves everyone in Christ and Him alone.

The second thing we must answer is the question: Who does God love and who does God hate? The answer is crystal clear: God loves everyone. Far from being a schizophrenic god who loves some and hates the rest, God lavishes His love on humanity on a bloody wooden cross, on which the God of glory died.

This is one of the gravest errors of (Hyper and High) Calvinist theology. In Calvinist theology, they rightly surmise that God's love is paramount at Calvary. Then they proceed to say that God's love bestowed in Christ and Him alone is only for the elect alone, because Christ only died for the elect. Therefore, God has nothing but sheer hatred towards the non-elect.

Protestant Reformed author David Engelsma has went to great lengths to show this is the case in his book Prosperous Wicked and Plagued Saints. It's an exposition of Psalm 73 aimed directly at the mainline Calvinist doctrine of "common grace." Engelsma, along with High and Hyper Calvinist theology, is simply in error here.

Instead of living in the Scriptural tension of Christ dying for the many (His chosen) and the all (total humanity), they erect a God with schizophrenia, making election the paramount decision God made pertaining to just about everything (it's called Supralapsarianism) and then all of God's workings in history are done in order to carry out election. Of course, one of the major drawbacks to this doctrine is that God simply creates billions of people for the sole purpose of damning them for the glory of Himself and the good of His elect.

I can't understand why this doctrine is as it is. There are other areas where Calvinists are more than happy to live in tension and believe Scripture in tension. Amillennialism is one such example. They joyfully talk about the already and the not yet, and speak of how we are living in this tension. Yet when it comes to the atonement, they are unwilling to surrender the golden calf of reason known as the TULIP. When it comes to that, it's black and white. God loves His elect, and He freakin hates everyone else. Damn sinners. Psalm 5:5 applies to those damn sinners, but not to the elect. But wait, aren't we all sinners, even as Christians?

Scripture sums up this tension in the atonement nicely.

1 Timothy 4:10: For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

God is the Savior of all people. This reflects the universality of the atonement spoken of in John 1:29, 1 John 2:2, and numerous other verses. But, He is especially the Savior of believers. This reflects the particularity of salvation spoken of in passages like Matthew 1:21, stating, She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Let us hold fast to the Word of Christ. In Christ, God is loving towards us. Towards all of us. Even the worst of us. Even the best of us. God is love, and this love is Christ.

1 John 4:9-10: In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


Sasse: Destroying the Sacrament

"It seems very difficult, if not impossible, for those who are involved in a great historic decision to recognize its irrevocability. This is especially true of the doctrinal decisions made in the history of the church. It took two generations and long theological and ecclesiastical controversies before the decision on the homoousion doctrine adopted at Nicaea in 325 was repeated and confirmed by the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. In a similar way, two generations had to continue the theological work and the ecclesiastical controversies on the Lord's Supper in the 16th century before the Formula of concord in 1577 reaffirmed the decision of Marburg as far as the Lutheran church is concerned, and thus definitely decided that there is no middle road between Luther and zwingli, but only the choice between the est and the significat. even these decisions did not find general acceptance, and today, 400 years later, attempts are still being made to solve a problem which Marburg has already proved to be insoluble.
The only approach which at times became popular during these four centuries - for it seemed to offer at least a practical solution - was the idea of Zwingli, Bucer, Philip of Hesse, and other politicians: If a doctrinal agreement cannot be reached, there can at least be a mutual recognition and a common celebration of the Sacrament. The history of unions, however, shows that this apparently-practical solution is no solution at all. For, apart from the fact that a common celebration presupposes a common liturgy in which, if it is a real liturgy, the doctrinal differences are bound to appear in a different form, such practical intercommunion leads to a destruction of the Sacrament. For a Sacrament which is a mere rite performed without the necessity of believing a divine interpretation, may be a more-or-less impressive, mysterious action, but it is not the Sacrament of Christ, which is always constituted by the Word - as even the Roman church has not quite forgotten. Here lies the deeper reason why in all union churches - we must include also many Lutheran churches that for practical purposes have accepted the union - the disintegration of the Sacrament is inevitable.
What is still more surprising than the blindness of theologians as regards the definiteness of the decision of Marburg is the fact that even eminent historians do not realize that the controversies which followed Marburg were an aftermath only. There is a widespread conviction, even among serious students of the Lutheran Reformation, that the controversy between Luther and Zwingli was only the prelude to the real discussion that began when the notable mediators, first Bucer, and later Calvin, entered the scene. This view which, even in the case of historians, actually goes back to Reformed convictions concerning the Sacrament, is supported by the fact that, after all, Reformed Christianity is not Zwinglianism, but Calvinism. the immense tragedy of Zwingli's life; his early death in 1531, which was immediately followed by the death of Oecolampadius; the fact that the Reformation in German Switzerland had to be taken over at the time of its worst crisis by men of minor stature, while in Geneva Calvin began to shine like a star of the first magnitude: all this contributed to an underestimation of Zwingli. It seems that not until today does the Reformer of Zurich come into his own again, after the noteworthy editions of his works by Koehler, Farner, and others have inaugurated a new study of Zwingli's theology. 
This statement is, of course, not meant to minimize the significance of Calvin as a theologian, and as one of the most distinguished churchmen of all ages. Eminent as he may have been as a systematic theologian - he was more of a reproductive and systematizing mind than an original thinker - his doctrine on the Sacraments could be understood, as we shall see, by the Lutherans as only another version of Zwinglianism, It was not, as the common opinion is, a misunderstanding on the part of the Lutherans if they rejected it as a new, and even more dangerous, for of Zwingli's doctrine. There is no question that Calvin wanted to give more than Zwingli, being deeply convinced that he was closer to Luther, and that he had found the true via media between the two. This personal feeling, however, can never abolish the fact that even the most conscientious among Lutheran theologians, men who had a very clear picture of what had happened since Zwingli's death in the field of eucharistic doctrine within the Reformed churches, could not find any essential difference between Zwingli and Calvin.we must never forget that Calvinistic influences had meanwhile pervaded the Lutheran churches, and that many lutherans had sympathized with Calvin. and yet his doctrine was rejected by the vast majority of Lutherans. No one can read the report on the colloquy held in 1586 at Montbeliard (a German enclave in France at that time) at the request of the Duke of Wuerttemberg between Beza from Geneva and Jacob Andreae from Tuebingen, and their colleagues, without feeling that either party knew exactly what the other taught. No serious and unprejudiced historian can deny that, rather than misunderstandings, it was conflicting concepts of the Sacrament, as they had become evident at Marburg, that caused the negotiations and discussions of the next two generations to end in the same inevitable failure as at Marburg. Thus, the hopeless controversy was destined to continue, much to the distress of pious souls, and with the most harmful consequences for the churches involved."
Hermann Sasse, This is My Body, pp. 239-241 

Let us remember history. For all the platitudes and insistences of the Reformed church, even today, that they affirm the Real Presence in Holy Communion, they simply do not. The Marburg Colloquy was an eye-opening gathering of the two sides and affirmed that there is no via media between the true bodily presence of Christ in the Sacrament and the denial of the same. Despite the best attempts of Martin Bucer and John Calvin, the great compromisers, the middle way that joins Luther and Zwingli does not exist. Ultimately, where Bucer and Calvin want to have a Real Presence, they both explicitly reject what the Real Presence actually is. The bread is the body of Christ and we receive this in our mouth. at the end of the day, despite Bucer and Calvin's best efforts, they have simply affirmed a version of ramped-up Zwinglianism.

Remember it was John Calvin himself who wrote these statements later in life in the infamous Consensus Tigurinus:

Article 16: Besides, we carefully teach that God does not exert his power indiscriminately in all who receive the sacraments, but only in the elect. For as he enlightens unto faith none but those whom he hath foreordained to life, so by the secret agency of his Spirit he makes the elect receive what the sacraments offer.

Here Calvin flatly rejects the idea that everyone who receives Christ's body and blood actually receives it. In other words, it is by faith that the benefits are received. Nevertheless, nobody receives Christ orally. This is contradictory to the Lutheran stance.

Article 17: By this doctrine is overthrown that fiction of the sophists which teaches that the sacraments confer grace on all who do not interpose the obstacle of mortal sin. For besides that in the sacraments nothing is received except by faith, we must also hold that the grace of God is by no means so annexed to them that whoso receives the sign also gains possession of the thing. For the signs are administered alike to reprobate and elect, but the reality reaches the latter only.

Once again, Calvin rejects the reception of the body of Christ in the bread and His blood in the wine.

Article 21: We must guard particularly against the idea of any local presence. For while the signs are present in this world, are seen by the eyes and handled by the hands, Christ, regarded as man, must be sought nowhere else than in Heaven, and not otherwise than with the mind and eye of faith. Wherefore it is a perverse and impious superstition to inclose him under the elements of this world.

Calvin here explicitly rejects the Real Presence, even calling it a "perverse and impious superstition."

Article 22: Those who insist that the formal words of the Supper, "This is my body; this is my blood," are to be taken in what they call the precisely literal sense, we repudiate as preposterous interpreters. For we hold it out of controversy that they are to be taken figuratively, the bread and wine receiving the name of that which they signify. Nor should it be thought a new or unwonted thing to transfer the name of things figured by metonomy [modern spelling: metonymy] to the sign, as similar modes of expression occur throughout the Scriptures, and we by so saying assert nothing but what is found in the most ancient and most approved writers of the Church.

Here Calvin aims his darts directly at Luther and the Lutheran churches, calling them all "preposterous interpreters," and insisting that the Words of Institution be taken figuratively.

Article 24: In this way are refuted not only the fiction of the Papists concerning transubstantiation, but all the gross figments and futile quibbles which either derogate from his celestial glory or are in some degree repugnant to the reality of his human nature. For we deem it no less absurd to place Christ under the bread or couple him with the bread, than to transubstantiate the bread into his body

Calvin now equates the Real Presence as taught in Lutheranism with Romanist transubstantiation and calls it "absurd."

These are the thoughts of Calvin, straight from a statement he drew up. The spiritual presence view of Calvin and Bucer is to be rejected by the Lutheran church as nothing more than Zwinglianism with a twist. But at the end of the day, it is the same exact thing. The Calvinist, as well as the Zwinglian, must reject that This (the bread) is My (Christ's) Body. They must by default say that This is not my body. This bread is just bread, inventing slick explanations and redefinition of terms in order to claim that the Real Presence is upheld. Yet, it is not.

No wonder why later Lutheran pastors and theologians regarded Calvin's theories as more dangerous than Zwingli's.

Let us hold fast to the words of Christ.



Sasse: The End of Marburg

In his outstanding book entitled "This is My Body," Hermann Sasse writes the following regarding the end of the Marburg Colloquy of 1529.


"Nothing shows more clearly than the Marburg Articles that the doctrinal difference concerning the Lord's Supper is not, as Zwingli and his friends believed, a difference in one point of doctrine only -and a minor one at that- since  it is not an article of the Creed. Luther was right when from the very beginning he saw that, as the Words of Institution are the Gospel itself, a difference in the understanding of the Sacrament must reveal nothing less than a difference in the understanding of the Gospel. If he did not realize this in the atmosphere of the last days at Marburg, the reason was that he interpreted the Articles according to his theology, and took it for granted that Zwingli, in accepting the terms, also agreed with the content. Hre failed to see, as many Lutherans later in their discussions and negotiations with Reformed theologians also have failed to see, that Zwingli's theology, and later that of Calvin, allowed for a far more flexible use of theological terms.

The versatility of Zwingli and his friends and successors is not, as in the case of Bucer, determined by their characters; it is rather a different understanding of Christianity. Koehler has repeatedly called our attention to the fact that the controversies on the Sacrament between the Reformers were instrumental in creating the concept of what Bucer called ratio Christianismi, the essence of Christianity. The idea belongs to the humanist interpretation of the Christian faith. Erasmus distinguished between those vital truths of the Bible which are sufficient for Christian piety, and questions and answers which should not be discussed. Erasmus connected this distinction with the interpretation of the Bible, the single passages of which are often understood differently. While for Erasmus, who remained a faithful son of the Roman church, the church and ecclesiastical tradition were the final authority in defining what is essential and what not, for Zwingli this authority was, of course, Holy Scripture. For him the Word of God was clear and sufficient, provided the Holy Spirit enlightens the hearer or the reader. Thus, he himself was absolutely sure about his understanding of John 6 as the key to the understanding of the Words of Institution, without asking whether perhaps the difficulty of a literal understanding of these words had not driven him to John 6 as a possible means of avoiding that difficulty. Whatever the more-or-less unconscious motive of always resorting to John 6:63 may ha ve been, Zwingli was deeply convinced that he, and not Luther, followed Scripture.
How, then, is it to be explained that he was prepared to recognize Luther as a brother in the faith, in spite of what he regarded as Luther's grave error? The answer is that for him the Sacrament, and the doctrine on the Sacrament, did not belong to those essentials of the Christian faith concerning which there must be unity within the church. In contradistinction to Luther, the understanding of the Gospel on which there must be unanimity is independent of the understanding of the Lord's Supper and of the Sacraments in general. The Sacrament for Zwingli is not part of parcel of the Gospel; it is an ordinance of Christ, to be performed by Christians. This performance may have some effect on the soul of the faithful, insofar as the 'sign' makes the Word of the Gospel clearer. But the Sacraments can never be means of grace in the strict sense. They only signify the grace which has been given without them, as he puts it in Art. 7 of his Fidei Ratio:

"I believe, indeed, I know, that all the sacraments are so far from conferring grace that they do not even convey of distribute it."

Here lies the deepest reason for the for the differing attitudes of Luther and Zwingli, not only toward the Sacrament as such, but also toward the doctrine, that is, the understanding of the Sacrament. If the Sacrament, though performed by man, is an act of God, and if this act (as other passages of the Lutheran Confessions indicate even more clearly) is more than a sign, namely, an instrument by which God gives something, then the denial of this character of the Sacrament is nothing less than a destruction of the Sacrament. The Sacrament is either a means by which God gives His grace, or it is no Sacrament at all - at least, not in the sense in which the church for 1500 years, since the days of the apostles, had understood the Sacrament. Nothing can conceal the difference between churches for which the Sacraments are instruments of divine grace and churches which deny this.

The most important result of Marburg was that the difference became unmistakable clear. For Luther the right understanding of the Sacrament as a means of grace, the understanding of the Words of Institution in their simple, literal sense, was an ecclesiastical article of the Christian faith. He never demanded the acceptance of a theological theory. His doctrine on the ubiquity of the body of Christ, or any other theological attempt to explain the mystery, was not even mentioned. The suggestion which he made after the colloquy, and which was meant to settle the controversy, shows what he regarded as essential and what not, namely, the confession that
"the body and blood are truly, that is, substantively and essentially - though not quantitatively, or qualitatively, or locally - present, and are given."

The disagreement concerning this question caused Luther to refuse the fraternal handshake and recognition as a brother in the faith to Zwingli at the end of the colloquy. He did not do it lightheartedly, as is shown by his attempts to save the union after the breakdown of the discussions. He had to take this stand because nothing less was at stake than the Word of God, the Sacrament of Christ, and thereby the existence of the Church. Not the existence of a Lutheran church; Luther was never interested in that. Denominations in the modern sense had not yet come into existence after the unity of Western Christendom had failed. The question for Luther was whether or not the Sacraments, as a means of grace, and whether the Sacrament of the Altar, as the Sacrament of the true body and blood of Christ, were rooted in the Gospel and therefore essential for the Church. He could not but answer this question in the affirmative. A church without the Sacrament as real means of grace was for him a church without Christ, who had instituted Baptism as a washing of regeneration and the Supper as the Sacrament of his true body and blood. This is the reason why he could not recognize Zwingli as a brother in the faith.


Whether such assumptions are necessary presuppositions for an understanding of the Word of God, as Zwingli believed, or whether they are philosophical prejudices which prevent the true understanding of God's Word, as Luther was convinced, that is the question which at the time divided the two Reformers and their followers. It is a questions which cannot be answered by a compromise. This was seen quite clearly, not only by Luther, but also by Zwingli. There is no via media between est and significat. It shows the greatness of Zwingli in contrast to Bucer, Calvin, and all prophets of a middle road between Wittenberg and Zurich. Whatever shortcomings he may have had, he was a clear thinker. The issue between Luther and Zwingli was a question of faith, and therefore, a question of conscience. While, in other points, as the Marburg Articles show, he could yield in a way which seems to indicate that either he did not fully realize the seriousness of the questions involved, or he acted as a politician, here the point was reached where he could not give in. It is of no avail to ask who is responsible for the failure of the colloquy, which Luther had anticipated from the outset. As believing Christians we shall have our personal convictions as to who was right and who was wrong. The church historian can only state the fact that each one was bound in conscience to follow his understanding of the Word of God.

The issue between Luther and Zwingli, between the Lutheran and the Reformed churches of the 16th century, was solely whether the two doctrines on the Sacrament were theological opinions which could and should be tolerated in one and the same church, or whether they had to regard one another as heretics, which made altar -and church- fellowship impossible. While Zwingli regarded Luther's view as wrong, he was prepared to tolerate it because, in his opinion, the question of the Sacrament did not belong to the essentials of the Christian faith. He found, in this respect, many followers in the Reformed churches; however, in the 16th century, as a consequence of the bitter controversies, other Reformed theologians denied the possibility of such intercommunion. Luther, on the other hand, never had any doubt that the denials of bodily presence and bodily eating in the Sacrament was a heresy that made intercommunion impossible. As he left Marburg, hoping that the other side would eventually see this heresy, and accept the Real Presence in the sense of his last suggestion, so during the following decade he left nothing undone to win over as many as possible of those who in the days of Marburg had stood against him. However, when he saw that all his attempts were in vain, and that the old heresy appeared in new forms, he had to repeat his no of Marburg, as he did in his Short Confession shortly before his death:

Hermann Sasse, This is My Body, p. 227-232, 236-237

There you have it, straight from the historical account as given by Hermann Sasse. In Sasse's account, we can glean many truths, especially from a Lutheran perspective.

Most of all, what we should take from this is that for Lutherans, the Real Presence is the Gospel given to us in visible form. We do not agree with Zwingli, the Reformed churches, and most of all modern American evangelicalism, that the Holy Sacrament of the Altar is a secondary matter of the Christian faith. Anything that involves the Gospel is primary and cannot be compromised. Thus, as Zwingli and the modern Reformed church would like to claim Luther and the Lutherans for their side as one greater whole, we cannot agree.

We do not agree with the Reformed churches and their offspring that the Sacrament is secondary and that we should overlook errors on this matter for the sake of union. We take St. Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians very seriously. This means that Lutheran churches cannot in good faith offer the body and blood of Christ to those who deny that it is the body and blood of Christ.

Moreover we cannot, as Luther did not at Marburg in 1529, offer the right hand of fellowship to people and churches that we see as having a grave error regarding the Gospel.

Where Zwingli and modern ancestors of the Reformed church see Holy Communion as a secondary, we see it as being of first importance. Where people may cry that we must stick to Christ alone regarding the fundamentals, we reply that this doctrine is in fact part of that. It is part and parcel of the Gospel and of Christ alone. Not to mention, it is paramount regarding the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Here we stand. We can do no other.

This is My Body.



It is very commonplace in many churches today to use the men and women of the Bible as examples of morality and goodness to encourage us to be more moral and better people.

Is this the purpose of the Bible and these examples?

Let us in fact look at the examples.

1.     Adam and Eve. Walked with God, then doubted Him. Blamed each other. Sin entered the world.

2.     Noah. Got drunk. Lay uncovered.

3.     Lot. Hangs out in the city gates of Sodom. Offers his daughters to lustful gay men.

4.     Moses. Temper problem. Murdered Egyptian. Was not permitted to enter the promised land.

5.     Abraham. Lies to the Pharaoh about Sarah.

6.     Sarah, does not trust God, laughs, offers her maidservant to her husband to sleep with. To this day we have the radical Muslims because of them. Heirs of Ishmael.

7.     Jacob, the deceiver. Lies and steals the birthright.

8.     David. Man after God’s own heart. Lusts after Bathsheba, another man's wife. Uses his kingly power to bring her to him and commit adultery with him. Tries to cover it up. Can't cover it up, so he has her husband murdered. Numbered the census not trusting God. Adulterous man. Was not permitted to build God’s temple because he was a man of war with blood on his hands.

9.     Solomon. Wise but thousands of wives.

10. Samson. Strong but lusted after women and was a spoiled brat. Told his parents what to do.

11. Jonah the Prophet. Self-righteous, hated the Ninevites. Acted like a baby when he didn’t get his way. Tried to hide from God.

12. Hosea, who takes a prostitute as his wife.

13. Paul. Murdered Christians.

14. Peter. Lied three times. Compromised the Gospel by not eating with Gentiles. Paul had to oppose him to his face.

15. The disciples who fled before Jesus' crucifixion.

16. Etc.

Multiple more examples could be given. 

You see, God has put these examples in Scripture to encourage those of us who are broken.  

There is this false idea--the theology of glory--that says we "get better morally" once we become Christians. This false idea says that becoming more like Christ is to be "morally better."

But to become more like Christ is to become more dependent upon Him. 

We never get past our need of forgiveness.

The Gospel is Good News for the Christian, too.

Even if we don't see ourselves in the examples above, none of us obey God's Law perfectly.

None of us love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

None of us love our neighbor as ourselves.

None of us repent perfectly.

Jesus Christ obeyed God's Law perfectly for us. 

Jesus Christ was baptized with a baptism of repentance for us because our repentance is never perfect.

Jesus Christ loved the Father with all His heart, mind, soul, and strength, and His neighbor as Himself.

God did everything for you through Jesus Christ, in His righteous life, death, and resurrection.

Your sins are forgiven. Regardless of how you feel.

Jesus Christ† is for you.

"He Who knew no sin became Sin for us, so that, in Him, we might become the Righteousness of God."