Text: Colossians 2:8-23; Matthew 4:12-17
For the newly baptized
For those preparing for Confirmation
For those caught by earthly ways of thinking
There has been some controversy over Paul in the last thirty or so years, mainly of the academic type, that says that Luther and the other Reformers misread the famous Apostle to the Gentiles, and that Paul was more against mindless religious ritual rather than “good works” in a general sense, and that such generalized “good works”—being kind, loving, etc—would be weighed by God in a final judgement. The idea is that ancient ritual, philosophy or dogma was pointless, but becoming/being a good person is precisely the point.
The problem with such an idea of general good works is exactly as Luther saw: if we are going to point to our good works as the sign that we are “in the club,” so to speak, then we quickly get to the point of asking are these the right good works? Should I do more/better works? Can I get away with the bare minimum? Am I the type of good person God wants? These kind of questions, declares Luther, are the exact symptoms of sin, and lead us away from the only reason we can call Paul’s message Good News: God has come near, he will save, his favor is upon you! Turn around and believe this message!
Easter joy ~ Pr. Dave Brooks