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'It Is All Useless To You.'

In case I somehow give anyone the wrong impression by the type of content I tend to publish here that focuses on the dangers I'm experiencing and witnessing within Christ's Church as they happen, I'm certainly not deceived about who I really am.

Make no mistake, I can identify with a quote I saw on Facebook yesterday.


"Free men under the Gospel laugh at themselves; bound men under the Law laugh at others" 
*- Norman Nagel


The more I read things like that from Norman Nagel, the more I'm grateful that the Lord blessed us with a man of God who was not only an exceptional communicator of the truths of Scripture, but also a confessor of the faith who pointed us to the cross, and to Christ Who hung on that cross for you and for me.

So, yes, keeping the cross hairs on me this time, I'm both a saint and a sinner. There's absolutely no denying that. I'm undeserving of God's unmerited forgiveness, grace, and mercy since I have been guilty of just about every sin there is, and yet, I am washed clean by the waters of my baptism and clothed in Christ's righteousness that was purchased for me (and for you!) with His blood on the cross, and credited to my account with God upon Jesus' death and resurrection!

To put it another way, I like what a friend of mine, a WELS Pastor, once wrote...


"I try to follow God’s commands, but all too often I fall short. I know this means I should be killed, destroyed, and lost forever in hell. But I’m not! Why? Because of my last role. I’m a saint. I’m perfect in God’s eyes because of my Savior. Jesus has made me a saint by living perfectly in my place. He’s assured me that I will live forever as a saint by dying in my place and rising again. I look forward to eternal life, when I will no longer play the role of sinner, but will be God’s saint forever." 
*- Pastor Dan Walters


It reminded me of another great quote from a man named Martyn Lloyd-Jones who I so wish was a Lutheran himself (haha!).

In any event, he reminded us that we are beggars and need to come to the end of ourselves.


 
"My dear friend, we must make this perfectly clear. When you come into the Christian church and listen to this gospel as it is in truth, you must realize that everything you are in the world is of no value. It does not matter who you are, what your natural ability is, what your degrees and diplomas, your academic attainments, what knowledge you may have garnered. It is all useless to you. When you come into the realm of the church, the Pharisee is as helpless as the publican. The greatest sage is as helpless as the newborn babe... Thank God that his way of salvation is so utterly and entirely different from ours...What does the gospel demand of us? Simply that we know that we are paupers, simply that we repent and admit and confess that we have nothing at all, that we are blind and lost and damned and hopeless and helpless." 
*- Martyn Lloyd-Jones 
'The Great Watershed,' in Setting Our Affections On Glory: Nine Sermons On The Gospel And The Church (Crossway, 2013), 41, 43


Now, he may not be a Lutheran Pastor, but that quote is definitely Lutheran-esque, wouldn't you say?

In a Lutheran layman's terms, it reminds me of Luther's famous reminder that, "We are beggars! This is true!"


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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