As we approach the traditional beginning of CSP’s 130th academic year on September 6, we do so with an intentional look at our theme of the year. Each year, our theme provides an intentional scriptural focus that weaves through our life together as a Christ-centered academic community.
This year’s theme is from John 3:16: “God so Loved the World.” Many know this verse as the “gospel in a nutshell.”
As a Lutheran university, this gospel message gives us both identity and purpose. It defines what we teach, and how we teach, live, learn, and serve together at CSP.
God is not some far off divine being who is removed from this world or the people in it. No, our God is near to us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He comes to us in His Word and sacraments to bring us forgiveness, life, and salvation.
God is a master craftsman, deeply concerned about all the details of the world and of each and every person. We are his poiema—his poetry—the people he creates, redeems, and sanctifies (Eph. 2:10).
God’s love is not an abstract good feeling, some theological warm fuzzy that we experience. We see that our God is near to us and loves us in the person and work of His only son, Jesus Christ.
God’s love in Christ is love in action. It is an agape love, freely given and unconditional love.
The Apostle Paul describes this sacrificial love beautifully and succinctly in Romans 5: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for my sin and yours, restoring the relationships between God and humankind and humans with one another. This love of God changes everything!
God did not send Jesus to die for just a few select people. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were for the sake of every human who lived and who will ever live.
In God’s love for the world, He calls His people to bring the message of Christ to all so that they might believe, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ is the only one who brings forgiveness, life, and salvation. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”
One thing I love about serving at CSP is our worldwide reach. We have the privilege of providing a Christ-centered Lutheran higher education to people who physically come to us from around the world, as well as many more online who are dispersed far and wide. What a beautiful gift it is to serve the world God so loves!