Martin Luther

October is a good time to remember Martin Luther.  On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Door.  These theses were to challenge the church to come back to the truth of Scripture.  The church of the day had gotten away from the good news and started laying down man made laws and imposing their rules on their followers. Martin Luther wanted to turn them back to the truth, that we are not saved by what we do, but we are saved by God’s grace.

Martin Luther Quote

“To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.” ~ Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians

“What awful presumption to imagine that there is any work good enough to pacify God when to pacify God required the invaluable price of the death and blood of His One and only Son?” ~ Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Following is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians – Verse 2:21:

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Galatians 2:21

“Did Christ die, or did He not die?  Was His death worthwhile, or was it not?  If His death was worthwhile, it follows that righteousness does not come by the Law.  Why was Christ born anyways?  Why was He crucified?  Why did He suffer?  Why did He love me and give Himself for me?  It was all done to no purpose if righteousness is to be had by the Law.

“Or do you think that God spared not His Son, but delivered Him for us all, for the fun of it?… 

“To reject the grace of God is a common sin, of which everybody is guilty who sees any righteousness in himself or in his deeds…

“We will always affirm with Paul that either Christ died in vain or else the Law cannot justify us.  But Christ did not suffer and die in vain.  Hence, the law does not justify.

“If my salvation was so difficult to accomplish that it necessitated the death of Christ, then all my works, all the righteousness of the Law, are good for nothing.  How can I buy for a penny what cost a million dollars?  The Law is a penny’s worth when you compare it with Christ.  Should I be so stupid as to reject the righteousness of Christ which cost me nothing, and slave like a fool to achieve the righteousness of the Law which God disdains?

“Man’s own righteousness is in the last analysis a despising and rejecting of the grace of God.  No combination of words can do justice to such an outrage.  It is an insult to say that any man died in vain.  But to say that Christ died in vain is a deadly insult.  To say that Christ died in vain is to make His resurrection, His victory, His glory, His kingdom, heaven, earth, God Himself, of no purpose and benefit whatever.”  ~ Martin Luther Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 2:21)

October Grace

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Door.  These theses were to challenge the church to come back to the truth of Scripture.  The church of the day had gotten away from the good news and started laying down man made laws and imposing their rules on their followers.  These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.” Matt. 15:8-9  Martin Luther wanted to turn them back to the truth, that we are not saved by what we do, but we are saved by grace.  Eph. 2:9 tells us For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. 

As Christians homeschooling our Children, we must remember to keep the Gospel, the Good News, in focus.  Once we are saved the Gospel isn’t void.  We are saved and continue to be saved and sanctified by the completed work of Jesus Christ.  Are you so foolish?  Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Gal. 3:3  Christianity isn’t about a set of rules and to do list; it’s about living in relationship with our Lord and Savior.  It’s not about trying to be the most ‘spiritual,’ the most ‘sanctified’ the most ‘loved’ Christian; it’s about living daily in the reality of who we are and who God is.

As we homeschool our children, this is an important issue to focus on, since it would be easy to forget this, as our children are sheltered from many of the obstacles and temptations found in the ‘real world.’  Our children could start to feel that for someone to be acceptable and lovable they have to behave in a certain way, or live up to a set standard, or be constrained by certain manmade sets of rules.  There is a great danger in this.  We are saved by grace, not by how good we are.  When we or our children start believing we are more spiritual, more sanctified, more loved because we live or act a certain way we are becoming like the Pharisee who prayed … “God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” Luke 18:11-12

When Jesus came to walk among us, He came to show God’s great love and compassion for a dieing, hurting world.  The Pharisees were angered by His behavior.  They did not like the compassion He showed to the lost or the friendships He developed with the ‘sinner’s.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:33-35  We also read in Luke:  And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners? Jesus answered them and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.  Luke 5:30-32     

Where is your focus?  Where are you directing your children’s focus?  – on living up to yours and others expectations, rules, to dos? or on an awesome Savior who came to nurture, love and die for a diseased world?

By Tami Munden

October Fall Picture with quote by Martin Luther

 

Unclean

As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!  Leviticus 13:45

Unclean! Unclean!  The shame and degradation, alienated, afflicted, alone, oh so alone – alone in suffering, alone in shame.

The leper has a disease, a sickness, but must enter the town crying out ‘Unclean, Unclean.’  It’s not their fault they are unclean, they are diseased, but to protect others from a highly contagious disease, they must warn others of their condition.  And yet, think of how they must feel.  Do they feel they are protecting others, or do they feel dirty, nasty, unclean.  Leper! Untouchable! Ostracized, unwanted, unloved.

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

But Jesus didn’t say, ‘get away from me – you’re unclean!’  Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him… The touch of love, of compassion, of healing…  and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. ~ Mark 40:1-2 NAS

“Unclean! Unclean!”  People flee, judge and condemn – Jesus reaches out, touches, and heals.  Have you ever felt unclean, defiled, unworthy?  I have… but I also have experienced that touch.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”Matthew 9:12-13

When I was a new Christian, I shared my testimony with a friend.  When I was finished, she shared her story with me.  She had been raped, she was a teenager and the boy she was dating raped her and she felt so ashamed.  For years she bore that shame alone, afraid of telling anyone, and yet she told me.  She told me because I had bared my shame to her.  Even though our stories were different and our shame came from different wounds, we were the same.  I was wounded, she was wounded – we both knew what it was like to feel ‘unclean.’

Like the child that’s beaten and abused feels shame, shame for having parents like that, shame because they believe if only I could be better, if only I hadn’t…

Like the addict who hates their addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, pornography, food, or… They know shame and shame draws them back to their addictions, their escapes.

Their hearts cry out unclean! unclean! stay away! but they long for love and acceptance.  They long for a place where they can share their story and be healed.  They long for hope.

Are we, the church, hiding our stories; are we covering our shame with righteous deeds and closing out the hurting world.  Are we judging, condemning and shaming, crying out ‘unclean! unclean! stay away! don’t contaminate us…

One of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then turning toward the woman He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” ~ Luke 7:36-50 ESV

Or… are we sharing our stories, sharing our hope, reaching out with compassion and love to the hurting, the abused, the ‘unclean’?

By Tami Munden

Following are some helpful resources:

LIBERATE – “I have come to set the captives free” Luke 4:18.  –  http://liberate.org/

Steve Brown, Key Life Ministries – http://www.keylife.org/

Justine and Lindsey Holcomb – Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violencehttp://amzn.com/0802410243

Justine and Lindsey Holcomb – Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assaulthttp://amzn.com/1433515989