The gospel of Jesus Christ is a part of every class at Columbia, and the highlight of every day’s schedule. There is simply nothing more important for anyone to learn than the certain truth that in spite of your imperfections and sins against Him,
- God forgives every single last one of your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness.
- He invites you to be His child,
- He comforts you in every sorrow of your life,
- and He promises to deliver you from this world into eternal life in heaven.
The other things we teach at Columbia are important, each in its own way. The ability to read or do arithmetic, an understanding of language and the skill of using it to speak or write, a rich vocabulary, a beginning mastery of practical logic and the rules of crafting a well-reasoned argument, a basic understanding of world history and the founding of our own country: these and other things will be a great help for our students as they continue in their lives. Equally important is a desire to learn and a satisfaction in seeing oneself grow in knowledge and skill.
But none of those wonderful gifts can see a person through death. They will help to the point of death, but not past it. And a life lived in service to God and others as a debt of thanksgiving for God’s rich mercies is so much better than any life lived as a doomed attempt to please God and “earn” our way into His good graces. The Holy Spirit made it clear in the inspired words to the Romans, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (There’s no hope left for any of us to reach paradise! But the words continue.) “[All] are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24, ESV).
Now that Jesus has won eternal salvation for every sinner in the world, the most wicked thing we could do would be to disregard it either through ignorance or bad intent. But our sins against God’s Ten Commandments? (You shall have no other Gods, … Honor your father and your mother, … etc.) Those sins have all been paid for in exactly one way: the eternal Son of God entered the world, became a man, lived a perfect life, then suffered the due punishment for the world’s guilt. If Jesus had been a mere creature suffering on the cross, He would have suffered for eternity. He would never have risen to life again. But His resurrection was God’s proof to us that…
- Jesus is God’s Son and essentially one with the Father, as He said.
- Our sins are truly forgiven even our deepest shame can be cleansed.
- We will also rise to live eternally.
That’s the kind of faith that redefines a sinner’s life. Now every breath, every meal, every word, every care, and every sorrow has been redeemed from empty despair or fruitless striving. Now the believing sinner is a saint in God’s sight. Now each day is an opportunity to show our thanksgiving to God, and to glorify Him by serving one another.
By keeping Jesus at the center of what we do, CLS fulfills its mission as a parochial school of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church.