S.D.G. Soli Deo Gloria. To God Alone be the Glory
This is another thing most Lutherans today don't seem to believe anymore.
I don't say this to be mean, but I do find it interesting how if I write about how God does something, how God forgives, how God gives life -- the question suddenly becomes "what about what I do?" Aren't I supposed to do good works? Aren't I supposed to grow knowledge? Aren't I supposed to be a good example?
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:10
Do we see what Paul does here? Well, yes, from a human perspective, he works hard, he does a ton of stuff... but that's not the real focus, the main thrust. Behold what God has done in making Paul... Paul. Even what Paul does - no, that credit must go to God.
To God alone be the glory.
I mean, I guess we could spend our time pondering the life and growth of Paul... but that misses the point. I mean, I suppose, I would hope that I've grown in knowledge and wisdom (I think this is a good thing), but the point ought never be "see, I have grown" - but rather, "Behold Christ Jesus." If I have become a better preacher... do I not still preach Christ? If I become a better teacher... do I not still teach Christ? If I worker harder... is it still not Christ who does this all in and through me?
So why focus on... me?
But Paul says that we are to imitate him in 1 Corinthians 11! Why? Not because he is "Paul" - but because he imitates Christ. Again, always to Christ.
But what of my works? Are we not to be the salt of the earth? Are we not a city on a hill? Yeah - but finish off that little section of the Sermon on the Mount - "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
To God alone be the glory. Not to you.
Really. It doesn't have to be about your actions at all.
But consider the great lives of faith and example that we have... yes, consider them, but consider them how Hebrews would have you consider them. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
Yes - like them, we will look to Jesus. And you know what He is? The author, the founder, the creator of our faith. He is the one who perfects it, who brings it about in us and completes it.
Your faith is still about Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria.