Centrality of the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins
What is the most important thing in your life? Spouse or children? Good name and reputation? Hard work and discipline? Money? Service to others? Education? These are all good things. As “good” as all these things are, they are not what is most important for a Christian. For the Christian, Christ and His forgiveness are the center of his faith and life.
To know Christ and to be a Christian is to trust in his forgiveness alone as the greatest good. From a prison cell at the end of his ministry, the Apostle Paul confessed what it is to be a Christian: “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:7-9).
What kind of faith considers all other good things rubbish? The faith that Paul confessed is a radical kind of faith. Jesus Christ is Lord, and the forgiveness of sins which he received from Him as a gift of grace and not as a reward for obeying the Law was the most important thing in his life. We believe that we are sinners. We believe that we cannot save ourselves by our own works, efforts, or accomplishments, nor can we save ourselves by sincerity of faith or trying to do our best. We believe that salvation from sin comes only through Christ who suffered and died in our place upon the cross. We believe that He suffered the punishment that we deserve for being sinners. We believe that He fulfilled the demands of God’s Law for us by His obedient life and by sacrificing Himself as our sin bearer in His death upon the cross. Jesus and the forgiveness of sins, which comes through faith in Him by God’s grace alone, is the most important thing in the education that we offer at Peace Lutheran Academy.
Faith in the Gospel of God’s forgiveness has important implications for us. We learn that we have value and worth, not because of what we’ve done, but because of the price our Lord paid to save us from our sins. Just as parents love their children unconditionally, so God loves us for Christ’s sake. As children are born from the love of their parents, we are born through faith in God’s Son. By Holy Baptism, God makes us His children. He bestows the gift of faith. He calls us by His name. His Son’s righteousness covers our sin and makes us joint heirs with Jesus of the Father’s kingdom. We can call upon our God freely and without fear of damnation, because He has made us His own dear children through Christ, and this relationship is fundamentally one of unconditional love and forgiveness.
God’s forgiveness in Christ has further implications for us and the students of our Academy. It teaches us to live in the confidence that we belong to Christ and that our salvation is certain. It teaches us how to suffer faithfully in our lives, even as Jesus did, by bearing the sins, failings, and shortcomings of others. It teaches us to live, not by faith in ourselves or others who so often disappoint, but by faith in Christ who has given us his very life and who never fails us in His love and mercy. No matter how good we are in teaching math and science, history and geography, and even morality and ethics, Christ and His forgiveness is the foundation and center of it all. This is the most important difference in the education that we offer at Peace Lutheran Academy.
We value academic excellence and achievement. We want our children to learn all that they can in every subject. We want them to grow up to be productive members of our society. We intend to enrich them through music and the arts. We want to teach our students self-discipline and responsibility. Yet, it is all in vain without Christ and His forgiveness. At Peace Lutheran Academy, we are committed to the centrality of the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake in the life of a Christian and the Church.