Friday, April 11, 2008

"This is Most Certainly True!"

"This is most certainly true" is another one of those things that Lutherans like to say. Because we like to be right. Not just right about something which we have made up. But right in order to be right. There is a wonderful reason to be right. Come to think about it, we MUST be right. For the right reasons . . .

Some people like to be right about stuff because it makes them look superior and important. That is the wrong reason to be right.

I like it when my auto mechanic is right about things. When he fixes the car (or the old van), I then know that it is reliable for me again. I can depend on it. I can go someplace late at night and be reasonably certain that I will be able to get home again. I can drive it in bad weather and be reasonably certain of my safety in it. Sometimes my very life is in the balance. My mechanic HAS to be right. I need reliability. I need dependability. I need security. Genuine security. I bet that you do, too (go ahead, admit it!).

I need my religion to be the same way - because only the real Truth can get me into heaven. And I want it to be an unadulterated, un-watered-down, totally dependable religion. My very soul (immortal, eternal) is in the balance. My religion MUST be right! I need reliability. I need dependability. I need security. Genuine security. I bet that you do, too. And that is precisely where doctrine comes in.

Yes, I know - you might think that "doctrine" sounds too, well, doctrinal. Bear with me. Do you know why a theologian (and every Christian pastor had better consider himself to be a theologian!), if he is worth his salt, had better insist on sound doctrine? Because, if your doctrine is sound, then you can approach the most important part of religion and say, "This is most certainly true!" (Yes, there is a part of religion which I would say is "most important." We're coming to that.)

Think about it. If my mechanic does not know how to change a tire on my car, it's a sure bet that I will not trust the engine to him! If he cannot change a mere fuse, it's a sure bet that I will not trust the transmission to him! If he can't figure out the simple things, I am certainly not going to entrust the more complicated things to him. Frankly, I would be a fool to do so!

In the same way, if my pastor cannot teach me about Baptism, for example, then he really cannot teach me about the Lord Jesus Christ (because one of the ways that Jesus brings Himself to us is in Baptism - more on that some other time!). If my pastor cannot teach me about Holy Communion, then he cannot teach me about Christ as my Savior (again, because one of the ways that Jesus brings Himself to me is in the Lord's Supper - more on that some other time, too). I had better get the right stuff if I want to end up in heaven! It just makes sense!

So, here is the "job" of doctrine. All Christian doctrine supports the central and most important truth, namely: you and I and the whole world are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ Who is Himself the perfect and only Savior of every man, woman, and child in the world! There! That's it! The central truth. And it is a truly profound truth. It is the most important truth (if you can say it that way).

Even if you have heard this truth over and over again throughout your life, it is still wonderfully profound. And if you are here reading about this truth for the very first time, it is wonderfully profound. God loves you. God saves you! He did this by the work of His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is God who actually died for your sins. In truth, He took your sins (the little petty ones and the really big ones) upon His sinless shoulders, He faced the wrath of His Father against each and every sin, and He died as the one and only, sinless, once-for-all-time sacrifice for sin! For your sin! For my sin! For every person's sin! AND . . . ready for this? . . .

"This is most certainly true!" This HAS to be true! If this is not true, you and I and literally everyone else in the world will go to hell. If this is not true, no one can possibly go to heaven. The alternative is hell. There is no inbetween. Romans 6:23 - check it out!

Enter Martin Luther and his Small Catechism ( ). Go to The Creed. Dr. Luther wrote an explanation to each of the three articles of the Apostles' Creed. The Apostles' Creed dates from about 100 A.D. It was not written by the apostles (disciples) of our Lord. It is so named because it is a statement about the apostolic (New Testament) faith! The New Testament faith tells us that God loves us, that God has worked out our salvation. Each "article" of the Creed tells us about a different "Person" of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (God has revealed Himself to us as the blessed "Three-in-One," aka "Holy Trinity," "Triune God,"). And, as Luther ends each article of the Creed, he affirms its veracity when he writes, "This most certainly true." In other words, you can depend on it. You can stake your very life on it! In fact, you can (and had better) stake your eternal life on it! This is most certainly true.

Dear friend, if you think that all truth is relative, you are plainly wrong and even sound reason tells you that you are wrong. If you think that there is no such thing as absolute truth, then bring your car over to my house and pay me $50/hour (a bargain these days) to fix it (I can always use the money). If you think that no preacher should be able to tell you sound doctrine, then why do you need a pastor at all? For that matter, fix your car (and your soul) by yourself.

Thinking about the above, do you really want to try to work out your own salvation? Do you really think that all Christian doctrine (teaching) should be "up for grabs?" Do you think that you can entrust your salvation to just any upstart preacher, or to a preacher who thinks that he should follow the latest trends? Or, to a preacher who trusts in his own cleverness and "cuteness?" Or to one of those "bait and switch" preachers (they promise you one thing but when you show up they give you something else)? Friend, do not reject absolute truth! Do not be a fool! Do not think that you are personally in charge of "truth" according to whatever whims of feelings you have! Truth IS truth! Thank God for it. THE Truth shows you everlasting life! THE Truth allows you to live (and die) in the holy, true, and Christian faith. And it is utterly dependable. I need that. So do you. Christ is the Giver! Christ is the Gift!

This is most certainly true! Sweet!

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