This week we finished our three-week unit on Martin Luther and his contribution to the LORD’s work.
The students learned how Martin discovered the great gift we have from the LORD. They learned that in Martin Luther’s time most people were taught that although Christ died for us, we were still not guaranteed a place in heaven, as a Christian. They learned that people in Martin’s time believed you had to work to earn your way into Heaven.
We spent three weeks learning about his life and how he tried to live up to being perfect and how he could never be good enough for God.
They learned about the amazing discovery Martin made when he truly began to read the Bible. They learned that once Martin learn salvation is a gift and we can do absolutely nothing for this gift, he had to tell everyone. (Ephesians 2:8)
With the older class we discussed this at length. We discussed that we have been given two special gifts from our God.
We are given the gift of the LAW and the gift of the GOSPEL.
They learned that the law is not simply a series of “do nots”, but rather a way to help us.
They learned that the Gospel is a gift as well.
They learned that when we are given a gift, we do nothing for that gift. During the course of our study we came across the phrase “free gift”. After much discussion we came to the conclusion that all true gifts are free and that we do nothing to get them. We discussed that if they are given a “free gift” with purchase, it really isn’t a gift because they must do something to get the item, make the purchase, and the cost of the item is built into the purchase.
Our salvation is completely free to us! Christ did the purchasing with His Holy precious blood and His innocent suffering death.
They also learned that while this gift is ours and there is nothing, we can do to enter Heaven, we do have the power to reject the gift and spend eternity away from God. This took some time on their part to understand.
I went around with a box of candy I gave each a piece of candy; some wanted the candy and some refused (yes, there were a couple). I explained that those who refused the candy were like those people who refused the gift of salvation. They knew it was there, but they made the choice not to eat it. Since I did this with my older grades, they understood, that salvation is entirely God’s choice and eternity without God is entirely our choice.
It was a pleasure to see those who had thought they had to be good enough start to understand.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School