Saturday, September 24, 2016

October 2016

Dear Saints of Faith Lutheran Church,

What is the pastor? That seems to be a better question than "Who is the pastor?". Why? Because it's not about the person who is the pastor. Now, I'm not saying the person isn't important; he is a human after all that sins just like you and me in need of the salvation from Jesus. You see, the pastor is something that Christ uses, a means by which you are given the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation given through the cross and the resurrection. He's not better than you, but he does fill a very specific vocation: the vocation of forgiveness. This is what the Augsburg Confession confesses concerning the office of the ministry:

1 So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2 Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake. 3 This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ's sake. 4 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word. (Article V)

Now, this article comes right after the article concerning Justification, your declaration of righteousness before God through Jesus, who has stepped in and taken your sentence of death upon Himself. Notice this: Justification and the office of Pastor are very closely connected; because it is through Him that God gives you the gifts, as I said above. In the end these gifts are for you, a sinner, but also God's greatest treasure. This is why the pastor's message must be salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from works. Period. Nothing attached. God's forgiveness is free. It is for you.

So, my plea to you this month concerns the pastor you will Call in just a few short weeks. Pick the pastor you know in good conscience will give these gifts to you. Don't pick the one you want, who you think will do just what you want, but the one you need - unless of course the one you want is the one you need, then you're good. But Call the man who will call you to repentance in order to forgive you. Who will preach Law and Gospel. Call a man you know will bind and loose sin. Who will preach and teach the truth – the pure, holy, truth of Jesus for you. Then take care of him as one of your own.

You continue to be in my prayers, dear brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray the Lord's guidance, peace, and patience through the coming time.

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Jonathan Holmes

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