Abram believed in the LORD, and the LORD credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6—EHV)
The return-for-service model is fundamental to human relationships—we are used to getting rewarded for what we do. You get paid for doing your job—not as a gift but as an obligation, you earned it. Sadly, that same idea comes into our minds when it comes to forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The natural religion of mankind is a religion of works. By nature, we think that we must earn our way to eternal life—maybe it’s by my obedience to God’s commands, maybe it’s by being nice and loving toward others, or perhaps its by virtue of who I am or what my family has been. We think that our forgiveness of sins and eternal life is dependent on ourselves.
Is that the way that it worked with Abraham? Of course not. Back when Abram (as was his name at the time) was nothing more than an idolatrous nomad, God chose him to be the father of his chosen people. He gave Abram a three-fold promise: 1. The Promised Land of Canaan for his descendants. 2. Descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand of the seashore. 3. That all nations on earth will be blessed through him (because the Savior of the world would come through his line). This three-fold blessing, however, was dependent on Abram having a child. The problem, of course, is that Abram was 75 years old at the time, and Sarai, his wife, was 65 and barren.
How could this three-fold promise come true if they were dependent on Abram having a child and both Abram and Sarai were past child-bearing age? Nevertheless, Abram believed the Lord. And that faith was credited to him as righteousness. Some might say that it was the work of faith that led to Abram’s righteousness. But faith is not a work of man, but a work of the Holy Spirit who creates and strengthens faith through the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:3, Romans 10:17). So this faith of Abraham that was credited to him as righteousness is also a gift from God, worked in his heart by the Holy Spirit through God’s gracious promise.
The same stands for us. We have done nothing to be declared righteous. There is nothing about us—who we are or what we’ve done that has earned a right status before God. Rather, it is through faith, that we grasp and hold on to the precious promises of our Lord! And it is not faith in and of itself that saves—but faith’s object: Jesus Christ. We can have faith in many things: faith that the Packers will make the playoffs this year, faith in your employer to give you a paycheck, and so on. It’s not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ, who paid for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification.
Through faith in Christ, his righteousness is imputed to us. Imputation is a theological term that many of us may not understand; but the picture is quite simple. Christ lived a perfect life that we could not; but what good is that for us? Christ is able to transfer his perfect life to us—he credits us with his perfection and holiness, making us righteous before the Lord. As he paid for our sins on the cross, he also gave us his righteous perfection—this giving us his righteousness, or holiness, is called imputation. And it is by this imputation of Christ’s righteousness, received through faith in him, that Abram, you, and I are saved.
To God alone be the glory.
Pastor Andrew Frey
Worship times Changing
Our fall schedule begins this Sunday, September 8, 2019. Worship times will be at 8:00 and 10:30 am. Bible classes and Sunday School will be held between services. Monday evening worship will continue to be at 6:30 pm.
Sunday school for your children (3K to 8th grade) will begin on Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 9:15 am. We pray that you would make the most out of this great opportunity for your children to learn God’s Word!
Sunday morning Bible classes will resume Sunday, September 8 at 9:15 am. Pastor Frey will be leading us through a study on "The Lord's Supper." We will see what God's Word has to say about the Lord's Supper and we will see the many blessings God gives to us through this sacrament.
Our Monday morning Bible classes will resume Monday, September 9 at 8:00 am. Tuesday evening Bible classes will resume on Tuesday, September 10 at 5:30 pm. Pastor Gartner will be leading a study of God’s Word under the theme: “What Does It Mean To Be A Lutheran?” Have you ever had questions about some of the main differences between all the Christian churches or maybe just have wondered how come there are so many different types of Christian churches? If so, please come and join us as we explore what God’s Word has to say about some very key teachings that the devil is trying to distort.
Mission Festival Sunday
Sunday September 22, we will be celebrating our Mission Festival Sunday. Pastor Steven Prahl who serves at Foundation Lutheran Church in Peyton, Colorado, which is the Mission congregation that St. John supported this year with our yearly Mission Offering, will serve as our Guest preacher and will also lead a Bible study about his congregation and what it is like to serve in a mission congregation. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this special Mission Festival Sunday.
Another year of choir is about to begin at St. John. Our first rehearsal will be Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 pm in the church balcony. No experience necessary! All are welcome. New singers are encouraged to attend. Come and worship with your voices. Enjoy Christian fellowship! Contact Dave Dahl at (920) 915-3867 with any questions.
A watch with a pink band was found at the Church picnic. You may pick it up from the counter in the back of church.