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This Sunday is Reformation Sunday. Christians ought to remember their past. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Reformation Sunday is not so much about the men of the past, as it is the doctrines of the Bible that were recovered during the Protestant Reformation. This Sunday, we will look at a central doctrine to Reformation pastors, the Biblical doctrine of justification from 2 Corinthians 5:21. What is justification? Justification is an act of God’s free grace wherein he pardons all our sin and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone. The doctrine of justification is a ground for worship. For one, our justification in Jesus Christ magnifies the rich grace of God to us Christ. We sinners in no way deserve to stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Beholding such grace, the most fitting response is reverent adoration. This is why Paul, after contemplating God’s mercy and grace to him in Christ can exclaim in 1 Timothy 1:17: Now to the King of the ages, the immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. And this Scripture serves as our call to worship this Lord’s Day. But our justification is also the foundation of our worship in that it has freed us from the terror of God. Knowing that God accepts us as righteous, our consciences are cleared to adore and magnify the God of the Ages. The fact that we are justified is what frees sinful men to worship a holy God with joy.
In the prayer service, we’ll look again at David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29. The service will be introduced with Martin Luther’s hymn “Out of the Depths I Cry to Thee” (Gray 87).
One of the great doctrines defended by the great Reformers was the doctrine of justification. John Calvin said that the doctrine of justification was “the main hinge on which religion turns.” Luther said, “If the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost.” This Lord’s Day morning, I will be preaching on this great doctrine from one of the greatest passages in all of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:21: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Call to Worship: 1 Timothy 1:17
Hymn 302 [Gray] A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Congregational Reading: Psalm 130
Hymn 228 [Gray] Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness This hymn by Nicolaus von Zinzendorf and translated by John Wesley is one of the great gems of Christian hymnody. The power is in the imagery of the believer clothed in Christ’s righteousness, especially in the wonderful first stanza: Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress; ‘midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head. The boldness we have to worship and glorify God comes from nothing else but the saving grace of Christ and his imputed righteousness to us.
Hymn 6 [Gray] Holy God, We Praise Your Name
Scripture Reading: Malachi 1 & Romans 5:1-11
Hymn 327 [Red] The Church’s One Foundation
Sermon: Justification: The Great Exchange from 2 Corinthians 5:21
Hymn 368 [Red] Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word
Instead of Sunday School, this week we will hold our quarterly business meeting for the third quarter.