Dr. Wade Johnston
Dr. Wade Johnston has degrees from Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Central Michigan University, and Erasmus University Rotterdam. He serves as assistant professor of theology at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and served for ten years in parish ministry in Saginaw, Michigan.
When we think of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone, the book of James isn’t the first to come to mind. James is no Galatians or Romans when it comes to that. But James does have something to teach us. James holds up a mirror, and we do well not to look away.
Perhaps no letter in the New Testament is clearer on Law and Gospel than Galatians. Paul is determined to knock any pretension and work-righteousness out of his beloved Galatians, recently disturbed by new preachers who pointed them back to the Old Testament Laws and ceremonies that Christ had put behind them.
The Christian church year is rife with days set aside to commemorate the saints, but All Saints Day, celebrated on the first of November, heaps them together. On this day, the church remembers all the saints who have gone before us.
Most of us know the satisfaction of crossing something off the to-do list. We look back on a neatly mown lawn, freshly folded laundry, finally filed paperwork, or some other completed task and contentedly sigh. It’s done. We’ve done it. Now we can rest or move on to the next thing.
Someone once called patience “the beggar’s virtue.” A beggar waits. He waits and waits until some kind soul comes along. Sure, he can try to look pathetic and come up with creative lines to win compassion, but, ultimately, his fate lies with the philanthropist, the kind soul who takes note of his need.
The tax collector entered the temple a sinner in the eyes of all but went home justified (Luke 18:14). Zacchaeus the outcast was called to climb down from a tree and host the most Holy God in his ill-gotten home (Luke 19:5).
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden.
There’s been a lot of wringing of hands lately among Christians and political conservatives (and those two don’t have to be synonymous; Christians have freedom, too, in politics) about the decline of the West.
The Letter to the Hebrews is a masterful letter. Sporting some of the most graceful Greek in all of the New Testament, theologically masterful in its treatment of the Christ as the fulfillment and end of the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, bold in its confession of the divinity of Christ
2017 was an unhappy year for me. In fact, it might have been my unhappiest year. Sadly, though, it shouldn’t have been. It didn’t need to be. I got 2017 wrong. It didn’t wrong me at all.