Sorry I haven't blogged since Thanksgiving. It has been rather busy -what with Advent services, weekend services, Christmas services, New Year's Eve, Adult Class during Christmas break and then a week in Florida for a conference and time with the family. So you haven't had the opportunity to read my ramblings - which might be a good thing.
I have been thinking recently about how we are saved. This comes from the conference we went to and from some happenings in the immediate community. We went to the "What is a soul worth?" Youth Ministry 2011 conference. We heard Dr. Christian Smith speak about the state of faith among the youth in our country. They have undertaken a long-term study on the spiritual life of teems - starting in 2002 and will continue until those same teens reach the age of 26-29. It is pretty amazing to see the results. They have published two books so far with the findings, the latest one is "Souls in Transition."
They have found that many youth have a type of religion which has been named MTD - Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. I will talk more about that on another occasion. It is fascinating. And the more I think about it, I have come to believe that it is the type of "religion" that many adults have as well.
The question I was asking myself this morning was, "How is a person saved?" Simple question with a simple answer - unless you don't like what God says in His holy word. We are told simply, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Jesus tells us, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." In Acts we read, "There is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved." This is simple. Believe in Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Savior and you will be saved.
You aren't saved because you are a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Troy, IL. Nor are you saved because you are a member of any church anywhere. You aren't saved because you are good person who hasn't committed some terrible crime. You aren't saved because your parents believed or your grandparents started a church somewhere. You are saved only by believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
He is God's only-begotten Son. He is God made man at the birth of the Son of Mary. He is the One who is sinless, living a sinless life, obeying the will of the Father, never falling into any kind of sin. He was not born sinful like us. He did not die a sinful life like us. Instead, He gave up His life, His sinless life, upon the cross, for the salvation of each and every person. And only by believing in Him will you be saved.
There are confirmed Lutherans in heaven and there are confirmed Lutherans in hell. There are really nice people in heaven and really nice people in hell. There are people who help others in heaven and people who help others in hell. There are drug users in heaven and there are drug users in hell. How is this? Only those who believe in Jesus as their Savior went to heaven. Those who didn't went to hell. Plain and simple.
That is something that you and I must take hold of, believe, confess, live and share. It is a matter of spiritual life and death. Spiritual life - believe in Jesus as the Savior. Spiritual death - by trusting your goodness, yourself, your actions, your thoughts, and any other belief other than the one that believes in Jesus as the Savior.
I will write more soon. I promise. I was just thinking about this and felt I needed to share.