Grace Church Blog

What's Your Story?

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Recently I was asked to explain my conversion to Jesus Christ and my spiritual formation since then. This is a question every Christian should contemplate in light of Scripture and share with others. So here’s my story:

I was fortunate to be raised by parents who loved the Lord deeply, taught their children faithfully, and set an example of godliness in our home and their work. At the ages of 83 and 80 they remain some of my dearest friends and mentors. However, my conversion to Christ has no particular date to be marked on a calendar. From my earliest memories I felt like I was discipled and loved with the gospel, and that the tenants of Christianity were at the forefront of our family’s life. The theme of repentance and faith was an ongoing part of my life and continues to this day. I was discipled by two godly youth directors who kept God’s Word before us and taught us what it meant to serve others and pursue holiness. It wasn’t always heeded, but their ministry in my life was transformative and lasting.

With all that being said, I think my faith took a turn in 1986 (age 20). I had never questioned the truth claims of Christ, nor had I been fully taught the depth and breadth of who God is and how he saves sinners. Needing to complete a book report for a Religion class at Baylor University, I asked my seminary brother for a recommendation. He said, “There’s this pastor named John Piper in Minnesota who wrote a book entitled Desiring God. You should read that”. (Yep… I read Piper before it was cool to read Piper)

Piper’s book opened my eyes to the sovereignty of God, to the beauty of election, and to the high calling on our lives to seek satisfaction in Him alone. It led me on a journey that continued for 30 years. In my 20’s I read Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, and great works from other reformed authors. Those pastors/authors, along with many others, shaped me in profound ways that still resonate it my heart and mind. I’d like to say I figured it all out and applied it perfectly, but my life has been marked by a daily realization that apart from Christ’s amazing grace I am wretched and can do nothing.

In recent years my view of salvation has been enlarged to comprehend the whole meta-narrative of God’s redemptive plan. I’ve realized creation is not just a story of history, but a picture of God’s perfect design for life, marred by the sinful fall of man that brought spiritual death to all. The Old Testament is a story of the futility in seeking satisfaction in lesser gods, which should only increase our faith and ignite joyful expectation in the promise of a rescue. Jesus Christ is that rescue and it is only by faith in Him alone can we be reconciled to God and experience the restoration of all things for all eternity. That’s good news!

Since becoming a Christian, every aspect of my life has been transformed. From the daily battle of sin and temptation, the sanctification of my marriage, the way I raised my children, to the care and love I have for His church; from the heartache of losing loved ones, seeing friends and family suffer, and recognizing the fragility of my own life and body; from failures and successes of professional life to the struggles of living in this present, sinful world, while longing for the perfect world to come, I’ve learned that nothing is left untouched by the redemptive work of Christ.

When was I saved? I’m not sure; but probably about 40 years ago. More importantly though, I know I’m saved today and that his grace is sufficient for life and ministry and his new mercies are present in this very moment. If I’m met with that question, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” I will simply say, “Because the blood of your Son has atoned for my wicked life and His perfect righteousness has been imputed to me. If I am to enter my eternal rest it will be by your grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for your glory alone."

The Solas of the Faith

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Following the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it is helpful to reflect on and be mindful of core truths that shape who we are as a church body. The five Solas were not only foundational in igniting reform within the church, but they continue to be a unifying belief between Grace Church and our sister Acts29 churches. Read more about the five Solas below*:

We believe it is our purpose to call the church, amidst our dying culture, to repent of its worldliness, to recover and confess the truth of God’s Word and to see that truth embodied in doctrine, worship, and life. In light of this we reaffirm the truths found in the “solas of the faith” of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation and invite you to affirm them as well.

Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior is measured.

Sola Christus - Christ alone

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

Sola Gratia - Grace alone

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

Sola Fide - Faith alone

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.

Soli Deo Gloria - To God alone be glory

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify Him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

If you would like more resources and information about the 5 Solas and how they still play a role in churches now, check out the videos and discussion questions created by Acts29!

http://www.acts29.com/media/series/the-five-solas/

*The explanation of the five Solas was taken and consolidated from The Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals of 1996.

 

Ross Rohlmeier is an International Church Planting Resident at Grace, and is passionate about equipping the church to engage in domestic and foreign missions. At the end of his residency, he aspires to plant churches overseas.

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