Back to School… Flashcard Knowledge and Faith..

 8  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)

189         The way Jesus called the first twelve could not have been simpler: “Come and follow me.” Since you are always looking for excuses not to keep on with your task, there is one consideration that fits you like a glove: the human knowledge of those first apostles was very poor, and yet what an impact they made on those who listened to them! Never forget this: it is He who continues to do the work through each one of us.

It’s that time of year when children return to school.  Some can’t wait, some want to squeeze every moment of freedom that they can into these last days of summer.

The first few weeks, it is about gearing up, about getting back to the task of learning.  Teachers will review basics, because some of the kids will know the material, some will recall it with some help, and some, well you think they never heard that 2 + 2 = 4 (or 5) before.

We are like that in church.  We know we know who Jesus is, we know what the cross is about.  We might even remember some of the more philosophical stuff, like the communication of magesterial attributes, or the balance of objective and subjective justification, and why it’s important to know all those “church words”.

But it is good, its even necessary to go back and sit in awe at the basics.  For unlike math, or vocabulary, the basics of our faith are still lessons we need to learn, that we dare not leave to flash-card time repetitive memory.  We can’t just simply flash back quickly the knowledge, as if we are a human version of google.  Unlike many academic subjects, the depth of our faith, the critical application points are given at the very beginning.  A little more explanation.  In math you learn the basic functions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.  The you learn algebra and geometry (a great class to learn how to shoot pool) trig and calculus.  At each level you can do more, applying the lessons learned before hand to do more and more.  Each level builds the next level.  And as you advance, you can do bigger and better things, for yourself, and indeed for humanity.

Christian learning is different.  The core of our faith – what truly makes the difference, is learned first! Everything else we learn supports that, and strengthens that.  If we learn deeply the Old Testament Theology regarding the sacraments of Baptism, Confession and Absolution and the Lord’s Supper – that is great and it will bring us great joy.  But the basics – His body broken for you, His blood shed for you…. that is the priceless part.  That is what makes the difference.

Which brings us to today’s passage. is work, from our being delivered, to the very thing that God, not us 

Normally, we talk about the first 2 verses – the one’s that talk about salvation.  We neglect the last – which is the basis for how we live in our relationship to Christ. St. Josemaria has it so accurate – the great words that the apostles did were done by the blue collar guys, the enlisted men types.  Which is why the educated theologians of the day had so much trouble with Jesus.  He didn’t pick the Ph.D.’s and the D.Min’s, he picked the guys that might be able to grasp new member classes and maybe a deacon class or two.  The core of our knowledge is the what makes the greatest difference.  It is that God is doing the work, that it is His strength, His wisdom, His power, and indeed His glory that He shares with us.

The greatest thing I can do as a pastor is not write the next Systematic Theology Trilogy, a replacement for the works of Pieper, or Chemnitz or Augustine or Aquinas.  The greatest thing I can do..(or technically that God does through me) is to pour water over the head of someone… and say the words “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.   Or say, “Take and Eat, this is the Body of Christ!” as I place a piece of bread in the hand, or on the tongue of a person…or share with them about the most blessed day in history and the execution of a simple carpenter who would by dying destroy death.  The same for you, the greatest thing you can do in this life… is share that Jesus loves me… this I know……(you can finish the song..)

Go for all the knowledge you can… but never ever forget that what matters… is the stuff that you learned at the beginning… and that 6 billion people need to know it as well!

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jo...

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1004-1008). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
We dare not look at a passage like Eph 2:10 above without taking the time to see what it says to us, what it assures us of, and how it reveals God working in our lives.  It’s all H

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 28, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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