Happy Reformation Day! Where Do You Stand?
Soon after Luther tacked his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral on October 31, 1517 the church ordered Martin Luther to recant and seek forgiveness. Instead, Luther penned an Open Letter where some of his most famous words were penned:
“Unless I am convinced of error by the testimony of Scripture…my conscience is taken captive by God’s word. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. So help me God. Amen.”
So here we are 500 years later on October 31, 2017 and the question I have for you this day is this, “On what do you stand?” Or better said, “For what do you stand?” Today I share with you where I stand: my purpose and my faith. Read it over and see if there is anything worthy of being incorporated into your life and what you stand for today….
Statement of Faith and Purpose by Scott Sager
October 31, 2017
The purpose of my life is discover, know, surrender to and live in the steadfast and abounding love of God the Father, shown in Jesus the Son and poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit. This love is lived out in me as I respond to God’s love by loving God with all my heart, soul mind and strength, and loving others as I love myself. I cannot love everyone equally, therefore my aim is to love God first, my family second, friends third, church fourth and my career and vocation fifth.
Central Core of My Beliefs:
There is a God.
There is only One God; integrity and order come from Him.
God is Spirit, and thus is neither male nor female.
God is Creator of all things visible and invisible; speaking them into existence from nothing.
Satan exists, and is the Father of Lies reeking havoc in the world by corrupting the good, darkening hearts and opposing truth.
Through Satan, sin exists as the opposite of the God-way and as the corruption of every good thing.
God is Love, and though One in substance, is best revealed through the love of the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God’s love desires to be known, and thus God has revealed himself.
God is revealed first through the creation, which testifies to the Creator and is studied to understand truths that hold the world together.
God is revealed through the Word spoken to his chosen people Israel through the prophets and later through the Apostles. These words are studied to understand
God’s character and moral demands and to take captive every thought before God.
God is revealed most clearly through the special revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ–who was begotten, not made, of the Father and His exact representation.
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, and is fully God and fully man at the same time demonstrating no divide between sacred and secular.
Jesus lived a perfect life while teaching all humankind how to live like Him through his words, his walk and his witness concerning his Father. To imitate Jesus is to live the God-life.
Salvation can only be found through Jesus Christ; and participation by baptism into his death, burial and resurrection affords by grace both forgiveness of sin and the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The mystery of all ages is revealed in me through my baptism into Christ, which has both clothed me in Christ and revealed me as a New Creation, “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”
Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father ruling over all creation; he hears our prayers and advocates for us to the Father through the Spirit. Jesus will return again to judge the living and the dead.
The church is the visible and spiritual representation of Jesus Christ in the world. The only hope for redemption of humankind comes through participation in this community of saints.
Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and the proclamation of the infallible Word of God (the Bible) are “graces” given to the church to administer and safeguard. The church is God’s last best hope for the world and one cannot fully participate in the “Kingdom of God” apart from this community.
Once saved by grace through faith, followers of Jesus live as disciples, “learners,” striving to grow in the image of Jesus through Jesus’ own spiritual practices like study, prayer, service, worship, evangelism and charity.
Disciples converge under various “pathways” of discipleship often called “denominations”; each denomination is an expression of what a group of disciples consider “best practices” for living the “Christ-life.” Within all these denominations there are faith-filled followers of Jesus, and my life desires unity with them upon essentials, liberty on non-essential and in all things charity.
My own religious heritage grows from a branch of churches known as the “Restoration Churches” and finds its denominational rooting among Church of Christ disciples who view: believer’s baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sin, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, biblical inspiration, simplicity in worship, the priesthood of all believers, autonomy of congregations and the free-will of individuals to choose some good as key markers of discipleship.
As I view my place in the Kingdom I affirm that God is over all; Jesus is exalted in all; and the Holy Spirit is our guide in all things. My family will be whole-hearted disciples of Jesus regardless of what others do; Truth will be relentlessly pursued; the Christ-life will be constantly nurtured; and all people of moral fiber, character and integrity are welcome in our home and lives regardless of nationality, gender or religious persuasion.
Thoughts and comments welcome . . .