Pulpit Notes: Said by God to Each of Us
One of the authors I enjoy reading is Karl Barth, often considered one the greatest Protestant theologians of the last century.
The following passage is a portion of one of his writings, “Saved by Grace.”
Someone once said to me, “I need not go to church. I need not read the Bible. I know already what the church teaches and what the Bible says: ‘Do what is right and fear no one!’ ” Let me say this at this point: if this were the message at stake, I would most certainly not have come here. My time is too precious and so is yours. To say that, neither prophets nor apostles, neither Bible, Jesus Christ nor God are needed. Anybody is at liberty to say this to himself. By the same token this saying is void of any new, of any very special and exciting message. It does not help anyone. I have never seen a smile on the face of a person reassuring himself with this kind of talk. … Let us hear therefore what the Bible says and what we as Christians are called to hear together: “By grace you have been saved!”
No man can say this to himself. Neither can he say it to someone else. This can only be said by God to each one of us. It takes Jesus Christ to make this saying true … .
In times of great anxiety, in times of need, or indeed at any time, we all can be reassured by God’s words to us: “By grace you have been saved!”
Let us pray.
Living God, what can help us to know, understand, and receive Your mercy but grace alone? Your mysteries extend from the deepest points in our souls to the farthest constellations, and yet we know and affirm that we matter to You, for we are children of God for whom Christ died and for whom Christ arose. This is Your mystery of love and mercy fulfilled. O God, call us out to greet Christ Jesus, our Lord, so that with our eyes and hearts focused only on Him, we may follow to the light eternal. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps