Standing Alone, Daily Reform, Day 37

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Galatians 1:6-9 & Hebrews 4:12-13

From the Reformer

In spite of this emphatic denunciation so many accept the pope as the supreme judge of the Scriptures. “The Church,” they say, “chose only four gospels. The Church might have chosen more. Ergo the Church is above the Gospel.” With equal force one might argue: “I approve the Scriptures. Ergo I am above the Scriptures. John the Baptist confessed Christ. Hence he is above Christ.” Paul subordinates himself, all preachers, all the angels of heaven, everybody to the Sacred Scriptures. We are not the masters, judges, or arbiters, but witnesses, disciples, and confessors of the Scriptures, whether we be pope, Luther, Augustine, Paul, or an angel from heaven.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

Our faith is in God in Christ and the hope within us abounds because of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13). But what is our faith based upon? Is it founded upon the Church? Is it a Sunday School teacher or priest who establishes your faith? Does faith come to each of us by special revelation — some gnosis or mystical enlightenment? Or do you simply insist, Well, that’s just what I believe? God help you if your faith is based on such flimsy foundations.

The final word belongs to God. Churches have been wrong — even with Scripture in hand! They too often read into God’s book what they want it to say so that their traditions are enforced. Sunday School teachers sometimes teach denominational dogma instead of God’s word or only use Scripture to prove their own points. Priests may promote tradition instead of Scriptures when their tradition may not have a thing to do with God’s will. How do you know if their teachings are God’s teachings? How do you know if you are enlightened or befuddled? How can you know that what you believe is what God wants you to believe?

Open his book for yourself! Let your faith rest in what Sacred Scripture says. Do not trust in your inner self or in anyone else. Indeed, do not trust what I have written here; check this against God’s Word. It is a child’s song but the message is mature: “I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!” If you stand on the Word of God alone, you will never stand alone.

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

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