Foundations: Solus Christus--It Is Finished

By Kathy Morales

"Your heart is assailed by unbelief, and you doubt that you can be saved; for you know that you are a sinner…do not let it bother you that you are a sinner." —Martin Luther

Martin Luther was a man who was deeply troubled by his sin. Day after day he was haunted by
the guilt of his transgressions. His sins taunted him. All of his efforts to save himself through good works, confession, and repentance were in vain. Nothing he did brought him comfort. So how could Luther write something like that?

Luther knew he was unrighteous, as the Scriptures say very clearly, "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) and "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).

So then, how can we say it should not bother us that we are sinners? When your heart is troubled by your own sin and unbelief, when Satan reminds you of your sins, where do you turn? To WHOM do you turn? Do not trust in yourself for your salvation! Look to Christ who stands in your place. All of our confidence and comfort is found in Christ alone. When your heart is beaten down by the devil, the world, and your sinful nature, run to Jesus alone.

Pastor Norman Nagel summarizes the Reformation in this way, "The Reformation may be described as cleaning out the human factors that had been intruded into the church and her message." The Reformation is about Jesus. The reason Martin Luther could be so bold as to write, "do not let it bother you that you are a sinner," is because he had Jesus. Luther's confidence and security was found in Christ alone, not in himself. Continually and daily, we need to be turned away from ourselves and brought back to Christ and His gifts. Reformation is the essence of our daily life as Christians.

Our Old Adam would have us make this reformation all about us, fixing our eyes on ourselves instead of on Christ and our neighbor. Thus we end up depending upon ourselves, our works, our actions, even our motivation to fulfill the Law--anything but Christ's work for us. Our conscience troubles us because we are sinners. We doubt that we can be saved because we look to ourselves. When you are It Is troubled by your sin look to Jesus alone, just as
Luther encourages us:

"Therefore call upon God, take hold of His Word, and cling to the sacrificial victim Christ, who has rendered satisfaction for your sins and has transferred your death to Himself and overcome it; and do not let it bother you that you are a sinner. Consider God's command. He wants you to cling to His Son and tells you to believe."

When you are burdened and haunted by your sins, when doubt threatens you, look to Jesus
because that's where your sin has been located and done away with. Christ became your substitute by becoming your sin in your place. Your sin was laid on Jesus to be forgiven and forgotten. Jesus endured the death that you and I deserve. His death is our death. We are baptized into Christ! Now, "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12).

Although the accuser threatens, he cannot rob you of the comfort you have been given in Christ. In the hymn "A Mighty Fortress", Luther writes, "one little word shall fell him." One little word, One powerful Word, the Word shall undo him. The Word of God, Christ, was given for you so that Satan cannot have victory over you. Try as he may, Satan cannot remove the promises God has made to you. YOU cannot remove the promises God made to you.

Remember and cling to these promises that God has made to you. You are baptized into Christ. You have been forgiven, made a child of God, and have been marked with the Name of the Triune God. Remember Christ whom you have received through water and the Word.

Cling to Christ alone who has promised to be with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20). Grab hold of Christ in the Word where He reminds you of what He has done and will continue to do for you. Look to the words of Absolution, for they are Christ's words to you--to comfort and assure you of the forgiveness won for you on account of His death in your place. Run to the Supper where Jesus has promised to give His Body and His Blood to you in and with the bread and wine for the forgiveness of all your sins.

Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Christ alone is the rest for our sin-burdened conscience. Our assurance is found in Jesus for us and in His gifts to us. We rest because Christ has fulfilled the Law for us, in our place. When we are burdened and troubled by our sins, when the accuser roars of our unworthiness, we can sing boldly:

"Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus' cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me,
since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus' blood?"
("God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It" LSB 594, st. 2)

The good news of the Gospel is that you are safe in Jesus. You are located in Christ alone and all of His work for you. "It is finished" (John 19:30). Take Him at His word. You have peace through the gifts Christ continually gives to you. Do not let it bother you that you are a sinner, for Christ was the sinner in your place. You have His righteousness, and no one can take that away from you.

Kathy Morales is a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in McHenry, Illinois, a graphic designer, writer, bookworm, printmaker, and coffee lover.
This article was originally published in a special summer 2017 digital issue of  Higher Things Magazine.  
Check out our related articles on Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, and Sola Gratia!

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