You cannot be a CONFESSIONAL without having the MISSION of God at the heart of your theology.
The hallmark of the Lutheran reformation is the statement “Grace alone, faith alone, and scripture alone.” It can also be said that the Scriptures became more accessible to the German Christians through the translation of the Bible into the German language. How we understand the word of God was then a question that Luther and the early reformers had to answer. We are to make a clear distinction between the Law and the Gospel for the proper understanding of the Scriptures; these are the two main doctrines of the Scriptures. The Law teaches us the will of God for our relationship with Him and each other. The Gospel is the proclamation of our freedom from sin, the salvation freely given to those who believe in the Son of the sending heavenly Father, Jesus Christ.
I was also taught in my confirmation class that all Scriptures point to Jesus, the one who was promised in Genesis 3:15, which is known as the first gospel. Sin separated mankind from God, but God had a design for mankind’s salvation: He promised a savior. This promise was fulfilled in the sending of Jesus Christ, as the true man and true God Savior of the world. The good news is that what was promised in Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus. Thus, what Jesus says matters to the church, her teachings and practice today.
So what did Jesus say? To begin with, he gave us the “Great Commandment.” In Matthew 22: 37-38 we read, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” this is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He also gave us the “Great Commission.” Few chapters later in Matthew 28: 19-20, he commissions us all saying, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
The topic of “Love” is a discussion for another time. However, what these two great sayings tell us is that as children of God, who are saved by grace through faith, we are to live our lives in such a way that is fitting for a witness to the greatness of God, by who we are (our being), what we do (displayed in our love for God, self and neighbor), by what we say (our proclamation of the Gospel).
Jesus says, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” John 20:21. You know the rest of the story – thus, we are the ambassadors of Christ with one and only one mission – to proclaim the Gospel of salvation. A confession that does not have this at its core is not a true confession, because it completely misses the point that our God is a sending God to seek and save the lost.
By: Rev. Yohannes Mengsteab
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area B