We have a "Means of Grace" theology. That is important.
We are now half way between the Day of Ascension and Pentecost. Last Thursday was 40 days after Easter. Jesus appeared to His disciples over those 40 days, showing and proving to them that He truly is Risen! Forty days after Easter Jesus ascended into heaven, telling the disciples to remain in the city until they were clothed with power from on high. It has been 5 days. There are 5 more days until Pentecost. During their waiting, the disciples were "continually in the temple" worshiping and hearing the words of the Old Testament. When they were not in the Temple, they were devoting themselves to prayer and studying the Word of God.
That is the pattern. Guided by the Holy Spirit they were searching out the prophecies about Jesus. It was a time to prepare The days would come when the Holy Spirit would move them out to tell the Gospel about Jesus. The words of prophecy they were reading would be the words of prophecy they would share. But there is something else happening.
We have a "Means of Grace" theology. There are specific things that God uses to create and strengthen our faith. They are the "Means of Grace" and the tools of the Holy Spirit.
It works like this.
The Word of God is living and active. When God sends out His Word, it does what He has commanded. (Isaiah 55:11) The heart and center of the word of God is the teachings about Jesus, about forgiveness through His cross, about victory through Jesus rising from the dead, and how there is salvation in Jesus for all who believe in Him.
When God speaks His grace-filled, forgiving and life giving words, we want to be there. We want to hear them. We want to have them spoken over us.
This is especially true because the Word of God is faith-creating. Paul said, "you have been save bygrace, through faith, and this [the faith] is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God ..." (Ephesians 2:8)
It is exactly as Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life ..." (John 6:68)Since it is exactly as Peter said, let's dive into the Word of God, savor the promises, hear the teaching of salvation, and just simply love walking with Jesus in life.
Lord Jesus, guide me by Your Spirit and lead me into the promises of salvation in You. Teach me to trust and treasure the sweetness of forgiveness and salvation. And by Your Word constantly renew and increase my faith; so that I may trust in You through all the "changes and chances" of life. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.