Pastor's Blog

June 2023

The Main Purpose of the Bible

One of the most common misconceptions about the Bible is that its main purpose is to tell us how to live. But that is 180° wrong. The Bible is primarily about Jesus and what he has done to save.

Even the parts of the Bible that were written thousands of years before Jesus was born are still about him! The Old Testament foreshadowed and foretold the coming of Jesus in countless ways.

The message of the Bible remained perfectly consistent too. In the Old Testament, people were saved through faith. Granted, their faith didn’t see the details about the life of Jesus that we have from our historical perspective but they believed the promises God made to send a Savior.

When Peter met with Cornelius, a gentile believer, Peter pointed him to Jesus. At the end of his sermon, Peter said, “All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:43) Other passages in the Bible say the same thing.

Since the Bible is primarily about Jesus, growing in our knowledge of him and faith in him is of utmost importance. Faith saves.

Faith is also the only true motive for godly living. There are parts of the Bible that talk to us about how to live. But these sections are built on the foundation of faith in Jesus as the Savior. No faith and there are no good works. But with faith, good works will naturally follow.

Grow in your faith in Jesus. Worship and attend Bible Class. Read the Bible on your own. As you grow closer to Jesus and see his grace, you will also see changes in yourself as you put off the old ways and daily rededicate yourself to serving God.


Pastor Wempner

Pastor Zarling

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Equal Status Before God

Christians all have equal status before God. Those whose work is done at the church (or any work done at or for the church) is not better than other, secular, work. Faith in Jesus alone saves.

At the same time, Christians have different roles and duties before God. The work we do is different, but that doesn’t change our status. This Biblical point is a great comfort to those who may feel their work is unimportant. It also protects us from a subtle form of work-righteousness, suggesting that some jobs are better (more God-pleasing) than others.

In the quotation below, Martin Luther writes about what is the same and what is different among Christians. He references a few key passages which are listed for you at the end of the quotation.

"It follows from this argument that there is no true, basic difference between laymen and priests, princes and bishops, between religious and secular, except for the sake of office and work, but not for the sake of status. They are all of the spiritual estate, all are truly priests, bishops, and popes. But they do not all have the same work to do. Just as all priests and monks do not have the same work. This is the teaching of St. Paul in Romans 12[:4–5] and I Corinthians 12[:12] and in I Peter 2[:9], as I have said above, namely, that we are all one body of Christ the Head, and all members one of another. Christ does not have two different bodies, one temporal, the other spiritual. There is but one Head and one body.

Therefore, just as those who are now called “spiritual,” that is, priests, bishops, or popes, are neither different from other Christians nor superior to them, except that they are charged with the administration of the word of God and the sacraments, which is their work and office, so it is with the temporal authorities. They bear the sword and rod in their hand to punish the wicked and protect the good. A cobbler, a smith, a peasant—each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops. Further, everyone must benefit and serve every other by means of his own work or office so that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, just as all the members of the body serve one another [I Cor. 12:14–26]."

Luther’s Works, vol. 44: The Christian in Society, Fortress Press, pages 129–130

Pastor Wempner

Pastor Zarling

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Faith and Feelings are Not Always Allies

Faith and feelings are not always allies. Our feelings and emotions are subject to the whims of our sinful weakness. In short, sometimes our feelings are wrong.

This is particularly important to realize when dealing with matters of faith. You may feel guilty, or you may feel that God is angry with you because something bad has happened. But that doesn’t mean that you are right! In the end, faith is based on the promises of God that we find in the Bible. Your relationship with God is based on what Jesus Christ has done to save you. To put it another way: God’s feelings toward you are infinitely more important than your feelings towards God. He loves you, and nothing will change that!

Martin Luther often wrote about the conflict between faith and feelings. Here is an example:
He who would enter the kingdom of Christ must pass beyond all feeling and be carried into a region where sensation is nothing. For we are not to judge by feeling. Therefore, if conscience accuses you of sin, if it sets the wrath of God before your eyes, if it tears Christ, the Redeemer, from you, you must not assent but must judge against your conscience and feelings that God is not angry and that you are not damned. For Scripture says that the kingdom of Christ lies beyond the domain of feeling. There we must judge against our feelings. (What Luther Says, p. 512)

At times our faith needs to silence our feelings. God’s love cannot and will not change; he has saved you!

For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him. Therefore, the “Amen” is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Pastor Wempner

Pastor Zarling

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The Mystery of God's Existence

We celebrated Trinity Sunday. The mystery of God’s existence is beyond our ability to understand. So, Trinity Sunday is really about faith. We cannot explain God, but we can believe what he says about himself.

What is faith? Lutherans often look at different aspects of faith so that we understand it better. Faith is:

1. Knowledge — One must know the truth to believe the truth. A vague knowledge of a god is not saving faith. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). True faith knows the true God who is revealed in the Bible.

2. Acceptance or Agreement — Faith doesn’t just know the facts of the Bible, but saving faith agrees that those facts are true. Faith agrees that salvation is because of the work of Jesus. In James we read, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (2:19). The devil knows the facts about God, but that is not saving faith because faith is more than just knowledge.

3. Trust — The devil knows that God exists; likewise, all people have a natural knowledge of God that leads them to know there is a god. But a general agreement that a god exists is not saving faith. Saving faith relies on God’s promises of salvation and is confident that for Jesus’ sake, we are saved. The Psalmists says, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’ ” (31:14). Or in Hebrews we read this definition of saving faith, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (11:1).

None of these aspects of faith require us to understand God. We know facts; we agree that they are true; and we trust that the implications of God’s promises apply to us. But that doesn’t mean we understand the Triune nature of God. Nor do we understand the motivation for God’s grace to save sinners by dying on the cross for us. Our inability to logically explain God doesn’t change God. He is greater than we can imagine — great in power and great in mercy and love! Believe what he says about himself and find endless blessings!

Pastor Wempner

Pastor Zarling

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. ~ 2 TIMOTHY 3:16