I was fatigued after an hour without moving. Our connecting flight to Europe had been canceled so we were in line to reschedule. It was very slow so I got my computer out to do some work on my “carry on desk.”
But God has reasons for delays. The couple behind us were Irish Anglican national youth leaders John & Cricket. We soon talked ministry and found them very concerned about the lack of gospel and Bible teaching in their national church. They were excited about us going to the Reformation 500th Anniversary Conference in Germany and ministry in Ukraine. They tried to get on the next flight with us so we could visit over the Atlantic. It didn’t work so we exchanged addresses and prayer requests and said we’d see them “Here, there or in the air.” What a blessing to fellowship with believers around the world.
A blond middle-aged lady next in line continued our conversation as we walked to our next gate. Liz was a medical doctor but had a lot of spiritual questions. We had hours to wait so we invited her to join us for dinner in an airport restaurant. This “delay” was a foreordained counseling opportunity.
The doctor said, tongue in cheek, she was from the “original church” (Catholic) but had concerns about it. Due to a crisis in her life she had read the New Testament for the first time and was amazed that it seemed to teach salvation was not by human merit. It was a great opportunity to explain that it is by faith alone in Christ we are saved. I suggested she read the Bible more and gave her the www.dailyaudiobible.com link to listen through the Bible daily like we do with Jerry Cudney’s schedule. Nancy and I enjoy it.
Liz’s final question was, “Do you think Catholics and Protestants will ever get back together?” As a Bible believing Christian I said “No” because of irreconcilable differences over their salvation teaching. There are many points of agreement but the biblical teaching of salvation by “faith alone” (The Latin is Sola Fide) is contrary to Rome’s teaching that salvation comes by receiving small portions of grace by faith and doing the sacraments. Works or merits have nothing to do with salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5). That is what Luther’s concern was and the spark that torched the reformation from Romans 1:17 “the just shall live by faith.” That was recovered after being buried under centuries of tradition and non-biblicalteaching.
One of the five “solas” or key points of the Reformation is that man is not saved by works or by faith plus works but by faith alone (Sola Fide) in Christ. Luther hit the nail on that head with that one as a T-Shirt I saw proclaimed. At the conference, we learned a good way to say it today is “Real faith is not cold intellectual assent to a bare outline of gospel facts; it entails an earnest trust in Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel.; Authentic faith perseveres.;” This faith has as its object the Lord Jesus. There is no other way to be saved other than by Christ (Acts 16:31). No human priest is needed. We get Christ’s righteousness and He gets our sin all at once. Sacraments, water baptism, communion, dreams or visions have nothing to do with it. It all comes from Christ. Are you saved by “faith alone” in Christ? If not, then you are not saved. We’ll cover another Sola on that next time.
When it was time to go Dr. Liz demanded she pay for the meal because she “made a lot of money” she said. I told her my boss has all the wealth in the world. She demanded to cover it since she had great gratitude for the counsel. I gave her our De Roo tract and my card. When we parted in Amsterdam she told us we were like angels that were sent to her. The Spirit had touched her with a clearer understanding of faith. She hugged us and we said goodbye. Pray for our friend Dr. Liz.
Writing to you from home again!
Rom. 1:17 “…the just shall live by faith.”