Reformation to Thanksgiving
by Seattle ALC
It is a natural, transitioning from Reformation to Thanksgiving. Through the Reformation the church recognizes the blessing of maintaining our focus on the blessing of justification by faith. It is embodied in the Solas that came from the Reformation 500 years ago. God works in every generation by the means of His Holy Spirit, to reveal who we are, sinners, dead in trespass and sin, unable to approach Him. But the Spirit never leaves us in a place of hopelessness. It always bring the Gospel of the good news of Jesus the Christ. It is a quickening Spirit that make alive what once was dead. The Apostle Paul wrote it this way to the church at Ephesus:
“Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit
that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of
the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
Justification by faith was the core message out of the Reformation. To be justified before God is to have a “right standing” before a Holy and Righteous God, the one true God. When He looks upon the believer He sees His Son Jesus Christ, and the work of redemption accomplished in his life work when Jesus walked on this earth, fulfilled the Law that God had established, took the entire sin debt of humanity and paid that debt by shedding His life blood. The New Testament Hebrew writer wrote:
“Heb 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with
water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Heb 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Heb 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things
themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now
to appear in the presence of God for us:
Heb 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to
put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin
The Holy Spirit reveals to us by faith that only in this completed work can we can find our peace, in Christ alone, by grace alone. Peace and joy go hand in hand. Because we receive an inner cleansing of the soul through Jesus by faith, our joy is not a temporary joy, but an eternal joy rooted in God’s work, not our own. Thanksgiving flows from a free heart, repentant because it has been awakened to the reality of the great Love that God has loved us before the earth was even formed. We can truly be thankful for all things God has created, all that He supplies, and thankful that He loves us with an Eternal love!