August 30, 2023 | Martin Luther – Day 16


“ Faith always precedes the Sacrament, according to that very common saying: Not the Sacrament but the faith of the Sacrament justifies. And St. Augustine says: Not because it is done, but because it is believed (the Sacrament justifies).

Martin Luther




Concordia Publishing House defines the Lutheran Sacraments in this way: “Lutherans teach that Jesus Christ instituted the Sacraments for two purposes. First, the Sacraments outwardly identify people as Christians, and second, they communicate and deliver Christ and His cross-won forgiveness, life, and salvation to individual Christians.



Hence, the Sacraments give, awaken, and strengthen our faith in God’s mercies, and they are used rightly when Christians receive them in faith for the purpose of strengthening their faith.”



Missing in this definition is the one who activates our faith which in turn activates the promises found in the Sacraments, only the Holy Spirit.



When John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the world, he spoke these words, “I Baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16).



As Paul was guiding a young Pastor named Titus, he said this about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).



In and through the Sacraments, God has worked His Holy Spirit into our hearts to build up a lasting faith which activates the promises found within. Without this faith, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and even forgiveness and absolution are rendered useless because people cannot accept something they don’t believe in.



God loves you so much that He sends His Spirit into your hearts to guide you. In His Sacraments, He uses this same Spirit to strengthen our faith in His promises to forgive, revive, and renew us. Praise God He has found a way to unite us with Him in Word and Sacrament so that we might enjoy eternity with Him.



Today, put your faith into action by stepping outside your box. Reach out to someone who you have, until now, bypassed. Volunteer your time to make someone else’s life better. Remember the promises of God found in the Sacraments and praise Him for His Holy Spirit.



Our prayer: Heavenly Father, continue to strengthen and guide us by Your Holy Spirit and prepare our hearts to receive the Sacraments in a worthy manner. Amen.