Indulgences led to confidence in a merit apart from Christ. In his classic the Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin critiqued the Catholic doctrine of penance. He said Catholics held ‘that there are many helps by which we may redeem sins: tears, fasting, offerings, and works of charity. With these we must propitiate the Lord. … With these we must merit his pardon. For although he has forgiven the guilt through the largeness of his mercy, yet by the discipline of his justice we retains punishment. … When the Scripture says, ‘by the name of Christ,’ it means that we bring nothing, we claim nothing of our own, but rely solely upon the commendation of Christ” (3.4.25). This is a crucial Reformation doctrine. We claim nothing of our own, but rely solely upon the commendation of Christ. This is the matter of today’s sermon. Our whole salvation rests on Jesus Christ and him alone.
For Luther, the authority for the church was Scripture alone. This became a very important matter in the Reformation. It is not without accident that our second catechism question is What rule has God given whereby we may glorify him? The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is the only rule to glorify God and enjoy him. This simple answerwas not in any way self-evident in the medieval church. But medieval Christianity not only denied that Scripture was the final authority in matters of doctrine and practice, it also kept the Bible from the people. To argue for the doctrine of sola Scriptura, I want to look at three books in particular. It’s not that the teaching isn’t found elsewhere, but I trust this will nevertheless illustrate that the Scriptures do, in fact, espouse that Scripture and especially the New Testament is our ultimate authority.
One of the key questions for Martin Luther and John Calvin was, how is a man right with God? That is, how can a man be justified in the sight of God? This was central for the Reformers. Their answer, which they took from Scripture, was absolutely right: men and women are justified by faith alone. We also affirm the doctrine of justification by faith alone, not because the Reformers taught it, but because, as they rightly rediscovered, the Bible teaches it. God’s Word teaches faith alone in many different places, but I’ve selected Paul’s words in Romans 3:21-26 to draw it out for us this morning.
Today, we continue this exploration of the glory of God at the Red Sea. If God revealed to Moses that his purpose at the Red Sea was to get glory, he wants us to see his glory in this pivotal biblical event. So let’s attend God’s glory as highlighted by the Spirit of God who inspired Moses to write this history, this time in the Red Sea crossing itself.
The Lord himself tells us what the purpose of the Red Sea episode is. This is in v 4b: I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and all the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD (cf. v 17). The episode at the Red Sea, just like the plagues before it and the Exodus, is really all about God’s glory. God’s purpose in the salvation of his people at the Red Sea is also that Israel would know and glorify the Lord. And the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write this account at the Red Sea so that we too see the glory of God and better love and believe him.
In our text for this Lord’s Day sermon, we see the Lord back up front and center. Moses wants us to see the care and love of God as his newly redeemed people depart for Canaan. How does God show his shepherding love for his people?
We have considered the Exodus from two aspects: what it teaches us about our Redeemer God and the response the redeemed ought to offer their God. We find these responses given by the Israelite’s example and the demands God lays out for them. The Exodus means that God is saving a people for himself. He wants the Hebrew people to know Him. He will dwell with this people and be their God. This means that things must be different for the Israelites. This week, we look at two more responses of redeemed people to their Redeemer.
A couple weeks ago, I preached a sermon called A Memorial Day. There I described two ways from ch 12:14-27 that God wants his redeemed to respond to him: he wants us to remember our Savior and to worship our Savior. On one level, this is a development of that sermon. The features are new, but they continue the main concern, that the Passover and Exodus is not a simply an exciting story where slaves are released, but a crucial event in Israel’s history. And in that event, the Lord gives his people Israel a blueprint for how he wants them—and through their example, us—to respond to his redemption.
Back in ch 6:7, we saw that the Exodus from Egypt is a plan for God to glorify himself to his people. The Lord has had his glory as his purpose for the Exodus from the outset. So, now that we have arrived at the Exodus in vv 28-42 of chapter 12, the Lord wants us to see that he is God who really does save his people. God brings Israel out of Egypt so that we would marvel in adoration at his works.
The Passover of Exodus 12 is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We have looked at the text carefully already, but now we must bring the message of the Passover forward and connect it to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Passover is a type of Jesus Christ. You need to view the Passover in relation to your own salvation through Jesus Christ. So I want to answer three questions to bring light upon the fulfillment of the Passover in Christ.