Means of Grace
A distinctive and important teaching of the Lutheran Church is known as the Means of Grace. The means of grace are the means through which God creates and sustains faith in us, and gives us the forgiveness Christ won for us on the cross.
Years ago, when I attended Concordia College (now Concordia University) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a seminary professor came to give a talk to students, especially those in the pre-seminary program. As he explained, Christ won forgiveness for us on the cross. But in able to believe in it, we must hear of this forgiveness and receive it by faith. But as Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” He said that none of us could travel back in time and sit at the foot of the cross and watch Christ suffer and die for us, and hear Him absolve us of our sins. Therefore God takes the forgiveness of sins and attaches it to Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and the Gospel and brings it to us now. Those three make up the means of grace. They are the ways in which God brings us the forgiveness that Christ won for us, and well as creating and sustaining faith in us.
Some Christians will turn Baptism and the Lord’s Supper into works that we do. They will see them as things that signify (and only signify) the fact that we are Christians. In other words, they baptize, not because it makes a person a child of God, but it is an act of obedience to God. In the same way, they see the Lord’s Supper as an act that they do to worship God.
But the means of grace are God’s gifts to us and things that He does for us, not works that we do. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Baptism “clothes” us with Christ (Galatians 26). The Lord’s Supper is Christ’s body and blood given for us for the forgiveness of sins. In these three means of grace, God gives us all the blessings of Christ. He brings them to us, and since they are His gift toward us, we can be certain that they do all that God has promised.
Rev. David L. Putz, Pastor
Holy Cross Lutheran Church (LCMS)
Good things are happening at Holy Cross! Praise God for that. When we keep Word and Sacrament ministry at the heart of what we do, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sown. As we share the Word, God gives the growth and we rejoice as humble stewards of the God who changes lives and hearts. Help us always, Lord, to keep Your Word at the center of our life together under your Holy Cross!
Please continue to pray for our congregation and each other. Don’t forget to visit our church website www.holycross-crawfordsville.org to find links for all our services on YouTube.