Embrace Grace, Daily Reform, Day 35

cup-and-cross

Galatians 1:6-9 & Romans 11:5-6

From the Reformer

Paul’s zeal for the Gospel becomes so fervent that it almost leads him to curse angels. “I would rather that I, my brethren, yes, the angels of heaven be anathematized than that my gospel be overthrown.”

The Greek word anathema, Hebrew herem, means to accurse, execrate, to damn. Paul first (hypothetically) curses himself. Knowing persons first find fault with themselves in order that they may all the more earnestly reprove others.

Paul maintains that there is no other gospel besides the one he had preached to the Galatians. He preached, not a gospel of his own invention, but the very same Gospel God had long ago prescribed in the Sacred Scriptures. No wonder Paul pronounces curses upon himself and upon others, upon the angels of heaven, if anyone should dare to preach any other gospel than Christ’s own.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

Churches add so many things to the gospel. If you really want to be saved, they say, you must not only believe on the cross of Jesus, you must also do these things. Some say you must attend a particular church, tithe, be baptized a certain way, ritually remember the Lord’s death, manifest a particular spiritual gift, and many other things as well.

No! I have been saved by the grace of God — not by my denomination, water, bread, wine, tithing, speaking in tongues, or by practicing any other particular beyond God’s grace. These particulars are only how we remember and proclaim what God has done for us in Christ. In doing some of these things we simply embrace grace. Depending upon anything further than the grace of God in Christ is damnable, anathema. How dare we “preach any other gospel than Christ’s own”?

Embrace what God has done for you — not what you do in the name of religion.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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