Emmitsburg Council of Churches


The Author & Perfector of our faith

Welcome to our Summer Edition of the Elias Communicator, thanks to everyone whose efforts and inspiration make our Church a place of caring, teaching, and encouragement as we seek to live our lives -- called by Jesus Christ who is the Author and Perfector of our faith. Perhaps there is no better time than summer time to turn our thoughts to thinking about "maturation" and "perfection" of our faith. Because summer time gets us involved with planting, growing and harvest of summer produce, we can learn to develop our spiritual life and trust that the time of ripening will come as a natural course of events pass in and through our lives.

Certainly summer’s bounty of the first ripe tomato off the vine or a tree-ripened peach cannot be surpassed when one is considering maturation to the point of perfection! Consider with me for a few moments how Christ, by the Holy Spirit is authoring, giving rise to, and perfecting our faith. First of all, we must recognize that God was at work, "In the beginning," to bring us into being. This can include our physical being, our soul and/or our spirit being. From birth, we are a work in progress. One might say, there is a type of law at work in us that enables us to grow and mature in mind, body and spirit.

This is a kind of innate happening—we are programmed from birth to eat to live and our minds develop as a matter of course as we respond to stimuli and outside forces or influences around us. But in the larger picture, we don’t do anything in and of ourselves, but it is God who will see us through this life to perfection. Bear in mind, with the thoughts of God’s over-arching sovereignty over all things, we can move from ideas generated by our scientific mind to thoughts or ideas that stem from our spiritual mind. Both of these realms of human thought can co-exist for the Christian without any threat to our faith in God or the truths contained in the Holy Bible. What I mean here is that, as persons of faith, we can think in both realms, human wisdom and godly or Biblical revelation, because we know that our God is bigger than any idea or concept we can even imagine.

By the way, a very helpful Lutheran idea is to remember that, because "God Is" and, it is what God does "alone," as Creator of all things…, this is what enables us to grow in any area of our life or what gives us our ability to reason. Secondly, we also bear in mind that it is by "Christ alone" who along with the person of the Holy Spirit, is at work in us to perfect us in the sight of the Father... have I lost you yet? Let us agree at this point, that this is no "small" nor "insignificant" idea, but to view our lives as a work in progress involving our faith in Jesus Christ or that the Holy Spirit is at work in and through the circumstances of life—not all of which are predictable nor pleasant…this requires a far reaching and all inclusive concept of God and Faith.

We might summarize with the thought: "God is going to make my life perfect in the end, not by what I do or do not do, but because God is holy, I will become holy." As Lutheran Christians, we constantly remind ourselves, that it is not our works that justify us before Almighty God, but that we rely on Christ and depend completely on his love, mercy and grace—this is what was given us at the Cross of Calvary. This is where we place our hope and trust for salvation—and that "we" or "our lives" may be looked upon, by our Heavenly Father, "as though we had no sin." A good verse to bear in mind and to place ourselves in comes from Hebrews 12:3 where it is written: "Consider Christ, who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart."

This verse tells us that Jesus Christ our Lord underwent the punishment that we ourselves had deserved, because of our imperfections, and therefore, that we need not worry nor strive for what we cannot achieve by our own fleshly accomplishments or growth in righteousness, but instead, we rely, believe and trust fully in Christ—who already has secured our salvation, and who will not abandon us in the mean time of our lives. Another idea for the Christian to remember is that we are going somewhere with our faith. We are not to be stagnant witnesses of the resurrection, but we are to be maturing and ripening.

We are to be actively growing, or like runners in a race, not spectators merely watching on the sidelines. Paul reminds us of this when he says: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith…" (Hebrews 12:1-2). Take heart dear friends, yes, we’re in the race, but don’t sweat the outcome, because Christ has already made it to the finish line and has won the race for us. But persevere, keep moving ahead and help others to do the same. Herein we shall become as ripe fruit, a fragrant, sweet offering unto the Lord. May your life shine brightly in the darkness. Amen.

Pr Jon

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