First Lutheran Church
Peace Lutheran Church
This is part 1 of a 4 part series on the Solas of the Reformation. The others will appear in the April, July and October newsletters.
In Genesis 22, on the way to the almost sacrifice of Isaac, young Isaac looks up to his father, and says: Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? To which Abraham replies, God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.
Abraham displays the utmost faith in the Lord; the same Lord who had just a few days earlier instructed him to sacrifice his one and only son. Abraham trusted that God would provide, that God would somehow spare Isaac.
Faith in God is the key to the Reformation; indeed faith in God is the key to the Christian faith. Faith in God says quite simply that God will provide.
God will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. God will provide the money to pay the bills this month and next. God will provide the food, the clothes and the house in which to care for however many children He so chooses to entrust you with. God will provide the resources needed to accomplish whatever project you undertake in your specific vocation.
Faith alone is not a familiar concept at the time of the Reformation, nor is it especially popular today. After all, who do you trust more: yourself, or someone else? I am going to bet yourself; after all, if you want something done, the best way to go about it, is to do it yourself. You trust your work ethic to get things done; you trust that you can behave yourself and stay out of trouble; you trust that your decisions will not lead you wrong. And when you are called upon to trust others, you trust the government to protect you from any economic crisis that may come about; you trust Social Security to provide for you when you are retired; you trust that whatever the doctor says, must be right.
Faith in God however, is a foreign concept; trusting God to give you all that you need to support this body and life, trusting that the Lord of heaven and earth knows what’s best for you; trusting that plain water and simple bread and wine can do great things? Not for you. Nor do you trust a baby in a manger, let alone a dead man hanging on a cross, to save you from your sins; that is a faith even greater than that of Abraham on his way to sacrifice Isaac.
And yet, that is the faith alone that saves. It is not your works or merits or the recommendations of others, it is instead faith alone that saves.
For what are the words of Abraham? God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.
God Himself did provide the lamb at Mt. Moriah, and God Himself once again provides the lamb who lays in the manger at Bethlehem, and will soon hang upon Calvary’s cross. In the midst of your sin and wretchedness, God Himself provides the means by which you are saved, and it is the holy and spotless Lamb of God.
And if God provides the means by which you are saved, how much more so will He also provide all else that you need to support this body and life?
The old VBS song describes faith as Forsaking All, I Trust Him, such is the faith that we have in our heavenly Father, we forsake all else, trust that He will provide for this body and life, and for our eternal life. And as we are His beloved children, whom He has called by name in Holy Baptism, He most certainly does provide.