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A Time to be born and a Time to die...

Justification by faith is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. Your salvation is not the result of your efforts or good works. It is entirely and completely accomplished by Christ for you. This is imputed to you by the Word and Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel who “calls you...enlightens you with His gifts...sanctifies you...and keeps you in the true faith.” Justification by faith gives us peace and certainty. It declares to you that all of your sins from the past, present and future have been atoned for by Jesus Christ. It declares to you that your future is certain in Christ and that he has defeated death for you by his resurrection from the dead. This then allows the Christian to live in the present with certainty and peace in Christ.

Martin Luther’s Commentary on Ecclesiastes (American Edition Volume 15) is all about the freedom to live in the present as a justified Christian. In commenting on “A time to be born and a time to die” Luther writes this, “...the moments of our life and of our death are fixed, to whom it does not matter whether you perish of a large wound or of a small one, so that He may confound all the wisdom and counsel of man. To Christians this is a great comfort, so that they know that death has not been placed into the power of tyrants nor into the hands of any creature and so that they are not extremely fearful about death but die like children when it pleases God...”

We are in the sure and certain hands of God by faith Jesus Christ. As the first article of the Creed says in our Small Catechism, “He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.” As Christians, we respond with a hearty “This is most certainly true.

“For freedom Christ has set us free.” He has set us free from our sins. He has set us from death. He has set us free from worrying and fretting about both. Christ has set us free to live. Oswald Bayer quoting Luther writes in his book,“Faith orients itself to the ultimate goal, the resurrection of the dead and eternal life, and in so doing it relies only upon the one who justifies the ungodly. First and last it is “a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it. It is a “divine work in us which changes us and makes us to be born anew of God.”

A living and daring confidence to live. This is what Justification by faith brings to us. Freedom to live. Freedom to live without fear. Freedom to live in the certainty of Jesus Christ no matter what comes our way.

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