Righteousness—by working or through faith?

An insight from tonight's Bible study on Romans 4: It's not just that we can't work our way to righteousness by perfect law-keeping. Moreover, the sort of relationship that comes by working is of a different kind from a relationship based on faith. A servant works for wages, and the relationship depends on the work…

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Hearing Is Believing

Sermon preached on Quasimodo Geniti (Second Sunday of Easter) Text: John 20:19–31 (Ezekiel 37:1–14  1 John 5:4–10 ) 15 April 2012 Our Saviour Lutheran Church Fareham It’s one of my favourite paintings, and as far as I know one of the best known of Caravaggio’s many masterpieces: Doubting Thomas. Jesus is revealing the wound in…

Believing is seeing

Sermon preached at Our Saviour Lutheran Church on Quinquagesima Sunday, 19 Feb 2012 (typos and all). You can listen to the sermon on the Our Saviour website. ****** Seeing is believing. So we are told, and so we feel. We find it easiest to believe that which we can see, because who could doubt what…

Faith

A sermon preached at Our Saviour Lutheran Church on the feast of the Holy Innocents, 2 January 2011, by Pastor Charles Varsogea. Text: Matthew 2: 13-23 I’m not from here. Which means that I need you to answer the following question for yourselves. Do you think of yourself as a country at war? You’re shrinking…

Faith-work

"And at the heart of [the] contrast [between Jesus and Moses as new vs. old] are the different functions assigned to obedience under the two mediators. 'For the Law was given by Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ' (Jn. 1:17). From the perspective of the first Moses, the question, 'What must we do,…

Knowing Jesus

This morning, the teacher of the Sunday school at my congregation reported the following conversation she had with one of the children, a 6-year-old boy: Teacher: Why do we read so many different stories about Jesus in Sunday school? Boy: So that we get to know Jesus. T: What do you mean? B: Not just…

Faith, grace, merit

Whenever we speak of justifying faith, we must keep in mind that these three objects belong together: the promise, grace, and Christ’s merits as the price and atonement. The promise is received through faith. Grace excludes our merits and means that the benefit is offered only through mercy. Christ’s merits are the price, because there…

The Futile Church

The Baptist had preached repentance, but it didn't help. The Church has done the same for two thousand years, and it still doesn't appear to have helped. It looks like other means are necessary to get people to listen. Shouldn't we show others that we can do something really impressive? That's a temptation that has…

John the Baptist, faith and doubt

The Gospel reading for this Sunday, Luke 7:2–20, includes John the Baptist's famous sending of his disciples to ask Jesus whether He "is the one" or whether they should wait for someone else. From time immemorial, scholars and other theologians have debated over the question of whether this is an indication that John the Baptist…