(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Happy All Saints Day!
The observation of All Saints Day in the Christian Church year is one of what is known as the “minor” festivals (major festivals being Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.). The day traditionally has been one where the church remembers those they have designated saints due to their stellar faith and treasury of merits that were available to others to tap into.
The day before, October 31, Martin Luther chose to post 95 statements for debate on the sale of indulgences as a practice that was not beneficial to the souls of mankind and stood in opposition to the very grace of God. He knew that many people would be coming to the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany to give homage to the saints of the past as well as view relics of the deceased saints that Elector Frederick the Wise had collected. Many would buy indulgences to tap into the extra good works of the saints and apply them to their own merit or for a loved one that was languishing in purgatory (so the church of Luther’s day taught). So Luther knew this teaching was against the Scripture and did nothing in reality to make people right with God. He wanted to spark the debate to get people back to the Bible and truth that people are not saved by the merits of saints, but by the merit of Jesus Christ and his perfect life, death and resurrection.
His statements lit a firestorm that became the beginning of the protestant reformation. While he didn’t desire a church named after him, the Lutheran church stands in the legacy of a “Back to the Bible” movement that proclaims our eternity in heaven rests solely on the perfect life, innocent death and glorious resurrection of Jesus. As Jesus’ work is credited to our account we can rightly embrace the title of “Saint!” We ARE holy because Jesus made us holy. We don’t need the merits of other Christians and we certainly don’t have to buy our forgiveness. It was bought for us and given to us as a free gift!
So happy All Saints Day…you are one of them!
Embrace this identity. It reminds you that you are a dearly loved, redeemed, child of God. It reminds you that you are not defined by your sin, but by your Savior.
This week’s key verse is the familiar John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
God sees each human being as valuable. He loves the world and he loves you. That’s why he sent Jesus. He wanted and wants you to spend an eternity with him. That’s how valuable you are to him.
Our key truth this week in our “Believe” series is so fitting: “I believe all people are loved by God and need Jesus as their Savior.” This truth you probably wouldn’t hear many people proclaim around the time of Luther. They, like Luther in his early years, saw God as an angry judge who had to be appeased by a life of works. Salvation was merited by living as the church demanded and paying for indulgences when your life fell short.
We as Christians take this statement for granted. God does love you. We have Jesus as Savior. But for years these glorious truths were buried under the bureaucracy and false teaching of the church. People knew they were sinners, but they missed that Jesus had made them a saint.
Enjoy living this week as a SAINT of God, loved, forgiven, and given a place in heaven by grace alone, through faith alone, found in Scripture alone.
Apply: Consider – do you identify more as a “sinner” or as a “saint”? In Christ, you are a saint! What changes when you begin to embrace this as your primary identity?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the work of Martin Luther to bring back to the forefront of our faith the truth that you love the world and sent Jesus to save the world. Thank you for not just doing that for the world, but for me personally. AMEN.