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The Journal

5 important letters F.a.i.t.h.

Dear Friends,
During the month of October we will be remembering the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as marked by the event of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg calling for the reformation of the church. Today Ian Cathers will be preaching on faith alone in the morning and in the evening. Separate from the sermon we will share a brief background of 4 great reformers except for Sunday 8 Oct when we will be hosting James and Brittany Daymond from BCA Narromine. The passage this morning is Galatians 3:1-14. Paul is addressing the church who are being tempted to move away from trusting Christ alone for salvation. Paul reminds them that they received the Holy Spirit by trusting in Christ rather than observing the law. In other words the Spirit is a gift received by faith.The problem is that the Christians think that their status before God is based on their works. In 3:6 he reminds them of Abraham who was credited as righteous before God because of faith. Salvation in the Old Testament was by faith and so it still is with Christ. Paul reinforces this and says that we are not declared right before God by observing the law but the key is faith. Faith is not some mystical quality but explains what we trust in. For example we can either have faith in Jesus to save us or in ourselves. Our faith is explained by what we put our trust in.The letter of Galatians was very much loved by Luther and it was from here as well as Romans that he found the teaching of salvation being a gift received by faith as powerful. When he wrote his theses against church corruption he particularly attacked the practise of indulgences whereby people thought they could be made right with God by paying money to church and not by faith alone. When urged to retract his teachings he said “If, then I am not convinced by proof from Holy Scripture … and if my judgement is not in this way brought into subjection to God’s Word, I neither can nor will retract anything … I stand here and can say no more.” Strong stuff !

God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara