Rev. Steven E. Thomas, Pastor
Pastor Steven Thomas was born in Houston, Texas. He graduated from New Mexico Tech with a BS in Chemistry. He was working as a chemist in Baltimore for a few years, and then decided to pursue the dream of being a pastor. In 1993, Pastor Steve graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He is married to Pastor LaDonna Thomas who serves at St. David Lutheran Church in Hanover, PA. They have one daughter, Rebekah.
Pastor Steve enjoys kayaking, reading, and motorcycling. Pastor Steve’s passion is always looking for greater understanding - especially in how our expanding scientific knowledge reveals additional wonders of God.
Some of his favorite books are The Bible (of course), Awareness by Anthony DeMello, The Shack by William P. Young, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, E=mc2 by David Bodanis, and the Tolkein trilogy.
Simultaneously Saint & Sinner
Martin Luther was a theological giant of his day - and remains a major theological influence in the world today, 500 years later.
One of the major theological ideas that Martin Luther developed was the idea that every Christian is simultaneously fully a saint (because of their baptism into Christ) and fully a sinner (because of their birth into this world and body of sin).
Every Christian is obviously a sinner because we are born into this world as a selfish human being. All of the ways that we see the world are influenced by our greed, our fear, our hatred, and our lust. Of course, the list could go on and on. This human perspective is reinforced by our society and our biology.
In Luther’s day, they thought that you could overcome your sin through proper devotion and by subduing the body. In his extreme fear of God, Luther took this path to heart. He became a monk in the strictest of monastic orders. He starved and damaged his body severely in his effort to subdue it. But none of these things worked. His total fear of God and his sinfulness remained.
Finally, he stumbled on the passage from Romans 3:21-26. A part of that is “For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift....”
Martin Luther proposed that we will always remain sinners. You cannot overcome it by your own efforts or devotion. Therefore, God through Jesus Christ has decided to just completely, unilaterally forgive your sins.
In addition, the Christian fully becomes a saint through their baptism into Christ. When the Christian is baptized, Jesus becomes one with them. They receive His holiness and He takes on their sinfulness (also call “the sweet swap”). So now, Jesus and His purity and holiness are completely melded into the life and being of the Christian.
And so, the Christian is always simultaneously both saint and sinner.
This is a very freeing understanding because you no longer have to worry about constantly fighting your sin. You no longer have to worry about trying to justify yourself or make yourself righteous through good works. Rather, you may bask in the goodness and complete graciousness of God in Jesus Christ.
So now, with this joy and freedom that you have been given, you are free to respond to God’s love and grace in any way that you see fit. But this response is completely different from a response out of fear and guilt. By knowing that there is no longer any fear or guilt, you respond out of love and freedom.
That is a whole different way of being Christian. You do not have to stand in condemnation of yourself or others. You are free. Just go and love and serve as Jesus does.
Now, if you feel like your sin is destroying your life - like some form of addiction or anger or greed, etc. Certainly, you may want to try to curb those impulses or seek help to repair your life. But this is not a response out of fear of God or condemnation by God. That would purely be a response out of love for yourself and the people around you.
May Jesus guide you in all these things. May Jesus free your heart and mind and spirit to love and serve God in joy and peace.
- Pastor Steve
Pastor Messages of Special Interest
Suicide - Surviving Life’s Darkest Moments
Video of Archived Sermons
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