|“One sacrifice for sins”|
But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:12, 14).
I am a member of the WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod). The last four Sundays of our church year are referred to as the End Times Sundays. The “End Times” Season begins with Reformation Sunday. The Lutheran Reformation coincides with Halloween, but actually has nothing to do with Halloween itself. Reformation (Celebrated on October 31st each year) is the day we honor our church’s founder Martin Luther. Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk, a Roman Catholic priest and a professor of theology.
On October 31, 1517 he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony, Germany. The 95 Theses were statements of his beliefs (based on Scripture) which he wished to defend in a public debate. The Catholic Church had become corrupted by centuries of ignorance during the Dark Ages of medieval Europe. Martin Luther wanted the church to realize the importance of returning to Scripture as its only source of truth. He taught, per Scripture, that we are saved by grace alone! By faith alone! and By Scripture alone! Salvation is a gift of God’s never ending grace, through faith in His one and only Son Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church had lost sight of these truths which were/are clearly taught in God’s Word.
The second Sunday of End Times is called Last Judgment which is pretty self explanatory. It is a study of the last days and most importantly the final day when the earth and this life as we know it will come to an end – the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the world.
The third Sunday in End Times is called Saints Triumphant. It is a study and celebration of all the Saints who were/are made victorious when Christ after His suffering and death, rose victorious crushing the power of Satan.
The fourth and last Sunday in End Times is called Christ the King. This last Sunday of the church year is again, a study of the last day when Jesus will come in glory and bring His believers (those still alive and those who have died) home.
My pastor begins each service on Sunday mornings with a children’s lesson. He invites all children present to the front of the church and spends about five minutes with them. He teaches them a lesson which pertains to the Scripture on which the service for that particular Sunday is based.
The Sunday which I am referring to in this writing happened to be the third Sunday in the End Times season which is Saints Triumphant Sunday so it was fitting that the pastor’s question posed to the children that day was; what is a Saint? They answered; someone who is holy (very good!). He then asked them to name some “saints”. They thought a minute and then answered by naming people they know from Scripture i.e. Paul, Matthew, Peter, James, Mark etc. They were 100% correct, but weren’t those men from Scripture sinners just like you and me? If a saint is someone who is holy, how could those men have been considered saints?
The definition of a Saint according to my Bible Dictionary reads; that which is separated or dedicated to God…All who are in a covenant relation with him through repentance and faith in his Son are regarded as saints. Wow! Does that mean I am a saint also? I came to faith at my baptism many years ago and the Holy Spirit has preserved that faith in my heart throughout my lifetime. My faith is strengthened and renewed daily through prayer and repentance, and through Bible Study and participation in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
If you have faith in Jesus, if you believe and trust in His promises and have come to Him with a repentant heart which mourns your many sins, you are a Saint also. Without Jesus we are all tainted and made dirty by sin and doomed to an eternity in hell, but with Him we are covered by His holiness.
The scripture above tells us; because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Jesus, God’s perfect and holy Son sacrificed Himself in our place when He died on the cross. He suffered the punishment we deserve for our sin and gave us His holiness in return. So when God looks at His faithful believers He no longer sees our sin, but the holiness of His Son. Because of what Jesus did for us, every sincere Christian can correctly place the word “Saint” in front of his/her name. We are all Saints washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
This is Good News! This is pure Gospel – that sinners are made Saints through the blood of Jesus. This news brings peace to all who believe. This is a peace which the world we live in cannot give us. It is a peace that comes only from God. Jesus says; Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
Yes, I am a saint. Are you a saint? I hope that you can answer “yes” to that question. If your answer stems from a repentant heart filled with love for God and His Son you can be confident that you are counted among the saints.
Through faith in Jesus we have true peace – a peace which does not come from this physical world, but from knowing that our sins are forgiven and we can stand before a holy God without fear. We have a sure hope that there is a special place prepared and waiting for us in heaven. Death no longer has power over us. Whether we live or whether we die, we are winners through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
|“You will not abandon me to the grave”|
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; because you will not abandon me to the grave nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. (Acts 2: 26-28)