Dear Members and Friends of our ELS:
Ever feel that much of the news is of no great consequence?
Shocking? Yes. Entertaining? Possibly. Frivolous? Often. When a bit of info strikes our eyes or ears by social media, TV, or print, the lasting value of the item, picture, or story frequently fades within a minute or two. Just one example: the front page of the newspaper at my doorstep carries a report of how Salem, Massachusetts – town of famous witch trials – literally is sprucing up its memorial, planting new trees at the site…. Yes, I suppose that news is “earth-breaking,” but hardly earth-shaking!
There is news of extreme importance needing to be heard by every person on this globe. It is the most consequential message ever reported. God loves sinners so much that He sent His Son to be the atoning sacriﬁce for our sins – the sins of all people. When souls hear the message of Jesus as the Savior and by the power of the Holy Spirit take hold of this good news of God’s free and full forgiveness of sins for their life, they escape the deserved and inevitable eternal punishment. Instead, by grasping this message, they enjoy peace with God for the here-and-now, and then for eternity they will have, as a free gift through Christ, life in heaven (John 3:16)!
But here is the sobering thought. Not all people hear the message. Apart from hearing, reading, and absorbing this message, there is no hope. Are we who have been privileged to know the news that counts convinced that all is lost without the hearing of the Gospel? Of the heathen, the apostle Paul states: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them (Romans 10:14-15)? If a person does not come into contact with God’s Word, then we are bound to conclude that the individual has not, and cannot, be connected by faith to the beneﬁts of Christ’s cross. Our Lord’s great commission involves the baptizing and teaching of all nations. There is no other avenue for the generating of faith than through sharing the news that is truly heaven-sent (Romans 10:17)! We are told the Thessalonians received the word of God from the apostles and “accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
With the incomparable news of a cruciﬁed and risen Savior who is both true God and true Man, the whole world is changed! There is a restored relationship with the holy God and a guarantee of a future happiness that will never end!
We can easily do without the many bits of info bombarding our minds 24-7. But not without the news as found in the holy Book. Can we, who by God’s mercy have been permitted to hear the Word and believe, devote more time, energy, prayer, and money to bringing the good news of Jesus to ﬁelds ripe for harvest before the night comes when no one can work?
May God bestow on us His grace,
With blessings rich provide us,
And may the brightness of His face
To life eternal guide us
That we His saving health may know,
His gracious will and pleasure,
And also to the heathen show
Christ’s riches without measure
And unto God convert them.
Rev. John A. Moldstad, ELS President