During the Reformation, Martin Luther struggled with the question of the sacraments. Having been a Catholic monk, he had been trained to practice 7 sacraments, but as he studied scripture and developed his thinking about what the sacraments truly communicate he ended up only retaining 2 of the 7: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But, he struggled with letting go of the Catholic sacrament of penance. This should strike us as ironic. The man who started his revolution in response to the practice of indulgences ( a form of penance ) would want to retain the sacrament is was a part of. In the end, he did not consider it a sacrament, BUT he practiced it until he died. For Luther, the act of confessing one’s sin and having another person pronounce God’s forgiveness in Christ was a powerful and necessary reminder of the power of the gospel. Luther likened it to telling a relative or spouse or close friend that you loved them vs. actually tangibly displaying your love through action. While we may love the people in our life and say it daily, if we never demonstrate our love isn’t that a problem?Similarly, when we confess our sins to God he is faithful to forgive us. But, the fellow believer who sits before you proclaiming the word of truth has power and Luther could not shake that. While we may not agree with Luther 100%, it remains true that we are called to be members of the body of Christ. As the body, we are to care for one another, and one way we do that is by honestly sharing our struggles and allowing others to remind us of gospel truth.So the question for you is: Do you have someone you trust at GP? Someone you can share your struggles with? If not, I encourage you to pray for such a person. I believe God wants that for all His children.
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