By Howard Parks
Pastor, Brainerd Laestadian Lutheran Church
I am the way, the truth and the life… John 14:6
These words of Jesus were selected as the theme for the Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Meeting and Summer Services being held in Baxter at the Forestview Middle School, July 5-8, 2012. Each year, this annual event is held in different locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, and its main focus is to reveal the way of salvation.
“I am the way…” teaches that the road to heaven has been prepared by Jesus Christ, who came to earth in the likeness of man, to redeem sin-fallen man from everlasting destruction.
Jesus also described the way as being strait and narrow: “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14) Jesus himself is the gate, and only through him can one enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus began his public ministry with these words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1: 15) The one who believes this gospel of forgiveness then begins the travel on the narrow way, which means walking in newness of life and forsaking of sin.
“the truth….” brings out the correct doctrine of the way of life. All people became sinful and corrupted through the fall into sin by Adam and Eve. As a result of the fall, there still remains in all mankind, a tendency to do evil. We all carry this corrupted portion in our flesh and blood. Apostle Paul lamented: “O wretched man that I am…” Only through believing on the redemption work of Christ can a person be reconciled unto God the Father. Jesus also said no man can come unto me except my Father draw him. True living faith then is entirely a grace gift of God, and not of any works that sinful man would attempt to do.
This faith then joins the believers to Christ and his congregation. God’s grace then guides their lives and teaches them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. (Titus 2: 11, 12)
“and the life…”Not only is God the giver of temporal life and breath, but He offers spiritual life and salvation to whosoever believeth upon His only begotten Son. Jesus testifies: “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life. (Jn.5:24) Here in time, God still calls sin-fallen man unto Himself through His living congregation, through repentance and believing of the gospel. The risen Christ commanded his own…. “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations…” (Luke 24:46) God, our Heavenly Father wishes to reveal that His Son, Jesus Christ, is the way, and the truth and the life, and desires to open your ears to hear and your hearts to believe, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.