Galatians 1:15-17 & Jeremiah 9:23-26
From the Reformer
We also have come to the knowledge of the truth by the same kindness of God. I crucified Christ daily in my cloistered life, and blasphemed God by my wrong faith. Outwardly I kept myself chaste, poor, and obedient. I was much given to fasting, watching, praying, saying of masses, and the like. Yet under the cloak of my outward respectability I continually mistrusted, doubted, feared, hated, and blasphemed God. My righteousness was a filthy puddle. Satan loves such saints. They are his darlings, for they quickly destroy their body and soul by depriving them of the blessings of God’s generous gifts.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Beware of thinking you are a Christian because you go to church or pray or read the Bible or even fast and do mission work. You may look like a saint to others. You may even have yourself fooled. But what do you look like to God? God is looking for a friend (John 15:15). He is looking for someone who is more interested in being in a relationship with him than in acting religious. The person of faith boasts in God — not religion. The faithful woman and man trusts in the Lord’s righteousness — not their own. You may have been baptized on the outside but have you been baptized on the inside? You may say prayers but are you talking with God? You may quote scripture but is it the Living Word of God in you? You may fast from food but have you deprived yourself of those things that stand in the way of your relationship with God? You may be a missionary or a preacher but are you bringing people to Christ — or to religion?
Religion never equals righteousness. The wise and faithful friend of God understands that she must trust in the Lord’s righteousness and never her own.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers