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October 2017

Dear Friends,

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:19-28

October of this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, which recalls the efforts of Martin Luther to bring correction to a church that had lost sight of her center, Jesus Christ. Luther rightly understood the Scriptural teaching that we are justified by faith in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, apart from the works of the law. This means that we are not only granted the forgiveness of sins by the shed blood of God’s Son, but also given the perfect righteousness of Christ, so that we might be “…faultless to stand before the throne…” God has bestowed this blessing on us solely as a gift of His grace “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Perhaps the greatest contribution of Luther was that he directed the church back to the Holy Scriptures as the sole norm for preaching and teaching for God’s people. It is the Word of God that brings us to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. It is God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit that brings us life and salvation by directing us evermore to the Cross of Christ. “…Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live…” Isaiah 55:3 Martin Luther felt so strongly about this principle, Sola Scriptura in Latin, that he translated the New Testament into the German language, so that the people could read and hear God’s Word in their native tongue. Luther emphasized the power of God’s Word in his very familiar hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and in the prayerful hymn “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.”

Even so, the anniversary celebration of the Reformation is not so much about the contributions of Martin Luther, for Luther was merely an instrument in the hands of the mighty God that we serve. Luther discovered the very truth that many others before him and after him have come to know. That God has given His Son as the perfect sacrifice to give us life and salvation. To God be the glory!

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-36

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Chuck Bylkas

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Contact us at:

Eastern Missionary Association
PO Box 69
Hancock, MI 49930

Chairman: Pastor Ernest (Chuck) Bylkas III
Phone: (906) 281-4983

Secretary: Charles Korhonen
Phone: (906)523-4744

Treasurer: Pastor Ernest (Chuck) Bylkas III
Phone: (906)281-4983