Reforming and Revitalizing the Church, and the Soul

Reforming and Revitalizing the Church, and the Soul

2  Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:2 (TEV)

Hence, true “reform” does not mean to take great pains to erect new facades (contrary to what certain ecclesiologies think). Real “reform” is to strive to let what is ours disappear as much as possible so what belongs to Christ may become more visible. It is a truth well known to the saints. Saints, in fact, reformed the Church in depth, not by working up plans for new structures, but by reforming themselves. What the Church needs in order to respond to the needs of man in every age is holiness, not management.[1]

760    Here is a thought that brings peace and that the Holy Spirit provides ready-made for those who seek the will of God: Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit—“The Lord rules me, and I shall want nothing.” What can upset a soul who sincerely repeats these words?

2 Good works follow such faith, renewal, and forgiveness. Whatever is still sinful or imperfect in these works will not be reckoned as sin or defect for the sake of the same Christ. The whole man, in respect both of his person and of his works, shall be accounted and shall be righteous and holy through the pure grace and mercy which have been poured out upon us so abundantly in Christ.

3 Accordingly we cannot boast of the great merit in our works if they are considered apart from God’s grace and mercy, but, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31). That is to say, all is well if we boast that we have a gracious God. To this we must add that if good works do not follow, our faith is false and not true.[2]

It is not a day that goes by that I don’t receive some offer from someone to teach my church how to come alive.  As well as some advice on what that looks life.  Some say you will see unprecedented growth, others say that you will become more like the church in the past, others say they guarantee the church will give more.  Some even suggest that the church will be more multi-cultural or multi-ethnic.  All tis two can be yours with a complete set of spiritual Ginsu knives (helpful for circumcising the heart of course) Heck, there are other that talk about bein the cause-driven church.  If your church promotes the right cause, if it is involved in feeding the hungry, helping people choose life,, if it is involved in missions, and everything will be perfect. There are even missions societies, and non-profit ministries all geared to helping you manage your  church.

Yet we know better than this, we know that individual renewal doesn’t come from some slick portfolio, or some manaed duplication of what worked somewhere else.  Even Pope Ratzinger noted that the plans of some in church leadership is needed, for such are nothing but facades. It doesn’t matter whether the façade is new, or old.
Renewal happens as we see the transformation that happens when we trust in God’s work renewing us.  It happenns as mercy flows over us, as the Spirit provides us with peace. As we descrease and Christ increases in us,  Paul says something similar when he says it is not I that lives, but Christ that lives in me. And as individuals in the church grow spiritually, as they are renewed, as they are conformed to the image of Christ, it is the church that is renewed as well.  We sacifice all that we are, and find out who we really and truly are.

It is as we hear the promises sin the gospel and in the proises made in the sacraments.  Promises we need to know because God’s law, shows us how broken we are, how in need we are of such healing.

Renewal comes from abiding in Christ, walking with God, knowing, simply put that He is with you always, even to the edge of the age.

[1] Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 241). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 1769-1771). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edi

[2] Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 315). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.

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 July 28, 2015, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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