An Unfair Verdict

"The Scales of Justice" Gilded bronze figure on top of the dome of the Central Criminal Court on Old Bailey, London, England. The figure was designed by Frederick William Pomeroy. © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
“The Scales of Justice” Gilded bronze figure on top of the dome of the Central Criminal Court on Old Bailey, London, England. The figure was designed by Frederick William Pomeroy. © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Daily Reform, Day 74

Galatians 2:4-5 & Matthew 5:17-20

From the Reformer

Some will object that the Law is divine and holy. Let it be divine and holy. The Law has no right to tell me that I must be justified by it. The Law has the right to tell me that I should love God and my neighbor, that I should live in chastity, temperance, patience, etc. The Law has no right to tell me how I may be delivered from sin, death, and hell. It is the Gospel’s business to tell me that. I must listen to the Gospel. It tells me, not what I must do, but what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done for me.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

Strive to live by the rule but never appeal to the rule, the law. Appeal to the judge. Appeal to the jury. Appeal to the one who is able to throw you into prison. A prosecuting attorney will point at you and demand that the full weight of the law be laid upon you. However, the judge or the jury may offer leniency. A judge or jury may throw the law at you but they are also free to offer you grace.

If human law is so forgiving, how much greater is the leniency of God? The Christian must make every effort to live up to the law while not depending upon the law for her righteousness. The Christian must try again and again to do good deeds but never rely on her works, be they good or bad. The Christian must make the effort to do good and to be good but always rely on the Judge’s good grace alone. Do not appeal to the rule; you are already condemned. Entreat the grace of the one who rules over the rules.

This is the gospel of God in Christ: The Law condemns you but the Judge is lenient and offers you grace because Jesus has fulfilled the law for you. Will you accept his verdict?

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

Leave a Reply