Friday, December 21, 2018

Wittenberg Trail: Led to Christ

Dear Friends,

In the latest Issue, Etc. Journal, I wrote the article entitled, "Led to Christ." It is in the digital Issues, Etc. Journal, Fall, 2018 that just came out.

The account is about my road to the Lutheran Confession and practice. I was a nominal Roman Catholic, and started attending a congregation of the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod as a teenager in order to see a girl! God used these circumstances, however, to introduce me to the Law and Gospel clearly proclaimed and the rest is history.

Why the Lutheran Confession? It all begins with sola scriptura. Through the Word, the Holy Spirit works to bring us to Christ! It is the Word of Christ that creates faith in Christ, which connects us to God's grace to us in and through Christ. It is the Word which unites us to Jesus; the Word alone. And the Word of the LORD endures forever! (1st Peter 1:25)

The Word leads us to know and confess the biblical teaching of sola gratia: we are saved by grace alone! Some express concern towards this. "Are you saying that good works are not necessary?" No, sola gratia does not say this. It says actually that while good works are not necessary for salvation, that they are -- nevertheless -- necessarily evident in the one who has been saved by the grace of God. This leads us also to the necessity of faith.

Indeed, we are saved through faith alone (sola fide). And while we are saved through saving faith in Christ alone, this faith is never alone. Consider Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Don't forget, however, what follows is verse 10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Being saved by grace through faith alone, we are led by God to do the good works that He has prepared for us before the foundation of the world!

This grace alone through faith alone is in Christ alone. Sola Christus is our one foundation. Consider the great hymn:

The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is His new creation by water and the Word.
From heav'n He came and sought her to be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.
-- Lutheran Service Book #644

By grace alone through faith alone in the saving person of Christ alone -- true God and man -- and His saving work: His life, His death, and His resurrection for us, Christ won for us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation!

All this leads us to confess Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone be all the Glory!

This faith I was led to; this is the faith and practice of the Lutheran Confession. This is why I am a Christian who confesses the Scriptural faith in accord with the Lutheran Confessions.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. Espinosa

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