St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year


Thursday, May 29, 2008

 

Sermon for June 1, 2008


Sermon for June 1, 2008
The Third Sunday after Pentecost
St. James’, Goshen IN
Arthur Hadley

Jesus said, "not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven…" And St. Paul wrote, "I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to Jew first and also to the Greek. For in the righteousness of God is revealed through faith….For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…."
Only those who do the will of God will enter to the Kingdom of Heaven.
OR
Since all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, they are all justified by his grace as a gift.
Is salvation granted because of our works, by doing the will of God? Or since all sin and fall short we are all justified by God’s gift of Grace.
Salvation is based on Our Works or God’s gift of grace.

This theological "Either / Or" question is the basis of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago. And it is the questions within the Anglican Communion today. And before you all gasp and run for the doors, or fall asleep. The either / or questions is in fact the problem.

We who have faith in saving acts of Jesus, and accept that by the Gift of the Grace of God have the ability to do the will of the Father in Heaven.

When Jesus was being crucified between two thieves one mocked Jesus and the other recognized Jesus as the Son of God, and to that dieing man Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." What was the work of that thief? But all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, and are now justified by his grace as a gift.

The Gift of God’s Grace of Salvation is forgiveness of sin. The very work doing the will of the Father in Heaven is forgiveness of sin. Jesus forgave those who crucified him. We are forgiven and can / may even must forgive the sins of others as God has forgiven us and has forgiven all others. That is the Gift of Grace. We have all sinned and we have all been forgiven. Those who do the will of the Father in Heaven forgive others; that is the will of the Father in Heaven.

The Apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus replied with the prayer we all know as the Lord’s Prayer; it is our prayer.

Our Father in heaven, blessed is your name, your kingdom come your will be done. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us….

We are forgiven, we can do the work of the Father in Heaven which is forgiving each of us, by forgiving those who offend us. That is our salvation, that is the salvation of the whole creation. Forgiven, and forgiving: Doing the will of the Father in Heaven, and accepting the grace of God’s Gift of salvation is not either / or of works or grace but rather both / and. We are forgiven and can be forgiving.

Thanks Be to God.





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