The Means of Grace
The work that was accomplished 2,000 years ago in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is applied to individuals through the means of grace. The phrase “the means of grace”refers to the way (means) through which God delivers forgiveness of sins, life, and salvations to individuals. God uses doctors and medicine as the means to heal us. He feeds us through the farmer in the field and the market place where we purchase our food. God uses means to provide us with our daily bread. God also uses instruments, means to bring and keep us in true Christian faith. These instruments are the written and spoken Word, the Word that is joined to the water in Holy Baptism, and the Word joined to the elements of bread and wine to give us the Lord’s Supper. Through these God gives us His grace, the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, and all the benefits of the Gospel.
Admittedly, water, bread, wine, and the spoken word are not lofty things. That’s why St. Paul wrote, “God chose the lowly things in the world, that which it despises, that which is nothing, to do away with that which is something.” (1 Cor. 1:28) It is by the work of the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word of Law and Gospel and through the Sacraments that a person is made a Christian and brought into the Christian Church (the body of Christ). It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that we are able to confess Christ as Lord. “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:3).
Some Christians separate faith from the vehicles God has chosen to deliver His gift of forgiveness. This is a great disservice to true Christian faith. Martin Luther wrote the following in the Large Catechism; “Now, these people are so foolish as to separate faith from the object to which faith is attached and bound on the ground that the object is something external. Yes, it must be external so that it can be perceived and grasped by the senses and thus brought into the heart, just as the entire Gospel is an external, oral proclamation. In short, whatever God effects in us He does thought external ordinances.” (Large Catechism, Tappert p. 440)
The forgiving grace of God and the saving work of Christ can only be found in the Christian Church. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit dispense the work of Jesus Christ and the benefits of the Gospel through the Word and Sacrament ministry of the Church.
Come to Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church where the Word of God, the Sacraments, and the liturgy are rightly used.