The ELCA is all about acceptance, social justice and unity. These are all good and honorable callings. But, while striving to attain these goals, sin is being minimized. Confession of sin and absolution is being phased out to be replaced with a celebration of Baptism. Bound conscience is placing self over God's Word. The ELCA task force on human sexuality omitted many pertinent verses from Scripture in their report, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust. Consider 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolater nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Verse 11 tells us that no matter what we have done, as long as we believe, we are saved. But, our continuing actions do have a bearing on our salvation. Those three words that I emphasized within that verse, when properly explained, will lead you to a clear understanding.
Washed; In Hebrews 10:22-27, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Paul explains that even though our sins are washed away, we are expected to lead a moral life and not continue to disregard God’s law by deliberately sinning, lest we bring God’s punishment upon us.
Sanctified; John 17:19 “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” Sanctified in Christ Jesus, consecrating us to the service of God through Christ’s saving action in our lives-as Jesus had sanctified Himself, setting Himself apart to do God’s will, which meant sacrificing Himself on the cross in order to save us. Such consecration makes one “holy” and set apart for God and requires that they be morally “holy” everywhere and in everything.
Justified; Romans 3:24 “And all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” This term describes what happens when people believe in Christ as their Savior. God declares them to be not guilty and He declares them to be righteous. He cancels the guilt of their sin and credits righteousness to them. All who believe are justified freely. This is not to say that all that have sinned are justified freely. However, no one lives a perfectly good, holy and righteous life. None are righteous because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But, because Christ died to pay the ransom for our sins and lived a life of perfect righteousness, and through that righteousness, He redeems us, releasing us from guilt and our liability for judgment.
It is readily apparent that Scripture is consistent with the message that, when we believe and accept Christ as our Savior, we are saved. It is also apparent that, as Christians, we are to resist sin and lead Godly lives. The standards God sets for our expected behavior are quite obvious when we read and accept His Word. We, as humans, are by nature selfish and sinful. All of us fall short of the glory of God, no matter how hard we try. But, if we take God’s word and disregard it, based upon our own selfish wants or desires, we jeopardize that salvation that God so freely offers. Let us not place ourselves and our modern, enlightened societal “norms” above the path that God has placed before us. As long as we know that our sins are forgiven, let us remain steadfast in the Word, in spite of what the world would want us to do.