Matins Devotion: September 18, 2023
There are countless mysteries in the Christian faith, countless doctrines we cannot fully explain but nevertheless believe and confess. How can God be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all different persons but only one God? It’s a mystery. How can Christ be bodily present in the Sacrament of the Altar while also being bodily present in heaven? It’s a mystery. How can the blood of a Jewish man shed upon a cross 2,000 years ago bring salvation to the entire world? It’s a mystery.
But even though the Christian faith is filled with many mysteries, it is not a mystery religion–that is, the Christian faith is not a puzzle to be solved and a riddle to be answered. What is the Christian faith all about? What’s the answer, the solution? The mysteries of the faith all intersect and come together in service of one simple, easily comprehended truth: Christ Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. That’s what it’s all about.
And so, in his instructions to Timothy, a young pastor under his charge, Paul makes clear how we are to mark and avoid those who want to take the simple truth of the Christian faith and turn it into a self-glorifying exercise in mystery chasing. Rebuke those who teach false doctrine. Rebuke those who tell you salvation can only be found by chasing down myths or seeking for it in endless genealogies of angels or men. Drive away every teaching that tells you to look for divine clues and hints in the things of this world. Protect your sheep from those who say that salvation is a mystery to be solved by looking to anything other than the word of God.
Despite all the mysteries of the Christian faith, the Christian faith is not a mystery. It’s a declaration of peace with God. Christ Jesus has destroyed your sins and gives eternal life to all who believe on His name. Don’t give an ounce of your time or trust to those who say you need to unlock more clues to know the truth of salvation.