Reformation Conundrums

Biblical Text: Romans 3:19-28

Reformation Sunday in a Lutheran congregation can have three flavors. Vanilla is a simple celebration. We assume that everyone knows the greatness and key points of the Reformation. We just celebrate it. Chocolate is to complicate that celebration. You do that by asserting that we don’t know it or we’ve lost the Reformation script or something about it is no longer relevant. This sermon has at least a scoop of Chocolate. Strawberry is the last and a little rarer flavor. It is an attempt to make us feel Luther’s anfechtung, his problem with sin and righteousness. If you can do that, you don’t have to worry about he Chocolate, because it is immediately relevant. This sermon is an attempt at a lot of strawberry. It is an attempt to rip away the veils of the age that hide the same problems Luther wrestled with. They are there. Our veils just worked for a while. So do the veils of the Papacy for a while before Luther.

The primary veil that we depend upon can be summarized in the word acceptance. We treat acceptance as the gospel, when it is no gospel at all. Acceptance doesn’t desire or achieve righteousness. It just overlooks sin. The Gospel is absolution. The sin is no more because we have been given the righteousness of Christ. This sermon attempts to take off the veil and encourage the reception of righteousness from outside ourselves.

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