2 Chronicles 29:15, 24 - They gathered their brothers and consecrated themselves and went in as the king had commanded, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD. ... and the priests slaughtered them [the goats] and made a sin offering with their blood on the altar, to make atonement for all Israel. For the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.
Our text today deals with reforms made under King Hezekiah. When Hezekiah restored the divine Word, he knew that atonement would have to be made for the sins of his people. For this reason, the priests made atonement for the people of Israel with "blood on the altar." As Christians our reconciliation with God the Father has been made possible by the spilt blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther understood this very well. During the Reformation his eyes were opened to the fact that in Christ alone, but in him completely, every believer has the forgiveness of sins. It became Luther's all-consuming object in life to lift up the atoning Savior, to preach the crucified, sin-destroying Christ, the risen, life-bestowing Redeemer.
Hezekiah carried out his reformation by returning to the Word of God. Luther was successful, too, because he went back to the sacred Scriptures and grounded his teachings in its truths, not on human speculation or the errors of man. Similarly, churches today need that loyalty and love for the whole Bible which, as the apostle Paul promises, is able to do so much for us: "And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).
God's blessed Word is the sacred treasure of every Christ-confessing believer. No minister or priest, no high-and-mighty official or ecclesiastical ruler has exclusive rights to God's divine truth. His Word-from Genesis to Revelation—belongs to everyone, in every place, at every time. It is as life-transforming right now as it was when it was first set down in writing for our benefit and instruction. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
It is the Bible which point us to God's mercy, to His love and grace, and to His beloved Son Jesus. As you consider the struggles of life and the challenges you encounter to your faith, remember that God has given us His Word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105). It is for our next step, and the one we take after that. It is through the Words of Scripture that the Heavenly Father speaks to us about His Son, "the Light of the world" (John 8:12b). And as Jesus said, it is "they that bear witness about Me" (John 5:39b).
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, lead us to the truth of Jesus in Your Word. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "O God, Cleanse Our Churches!" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Originally, what two languages was the Bible written in? (Extra credit if you know a third language used for some parts of the Old Testament and a smattering of words in the New.)
2. What were some of King Hezekiah's reforms? (Read 2 Chronicles 29-31 for a few details.)
3. What parts of the Bible speak most clearly to you?
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