Daily Reform, Day 80
Galatians 2:6 & Revelation 2:8-11
From the Reformer
If Paul would not give in to the false apostles, much less ought we to give in to our opponents. I know that a Christian should be humble, but against the Pope I am going to be proud and say to him: “You, Pope, I will not have you for my boss, for I am sure that my doctrine is divine.” Such pride against the Pope is imperative, for if we are not stout and proud we shall never succeed in defending the article of the righteousness of faith.
If the Pope would concede that God alone by His grace through Christ justifies sinners, we would carry him in our arms, we would kiss his feet. But since we cannot obtain this concession, we will give in to nobody, not to all the angels in heaven, not to Peter, not to Paul, not to a hundred emperors, not to a thousand popes, not to the whole world. If in this matter we were to humble ourselves, they would take from us the God who created us, and Jesus Christ who has redeemed us by His blood. Let this be our resolution, that we will suffer the loss of all things, the loss of our good name, of life itself, but the Gospel and our faith in Jesus Christ — we will not stand for it that anybody take them from us.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
An old Zen story says that a Zen master was meditating under the moon on a hilltop. While he meditated, he slowly became aware that a robber had stolen up the hillside and was taking the few belongings he had inside his shack. When the robber looked up, the Zen master was beside him, dismantling the shack. He helped the thief carry the wood down the hillside to his wagon. He then stripped off his robe, carefully folded it, and placed it next to the man. As he drove away, the Zen master thought, If only I could have given him the moon…
We may be robbed of all we have. In fact, we might even choose to give it away. That which remains is most precious and cannot be given away or taken — though we may abandon it. That thing is not the moon or any other object. That thing is what sets us free from all our possessions and ties. That thing gives us peace when thieves steal up our hillsides. That thing is faith in what Jesus has accomplished for us.
We may have to endure great poverty and tribulation. Yet we remain rich and at peace. We may be slandered. Yet we are suffused with the righteousness of God. We may suffer and be thrown into prison yet remain faithful to the Name. Finally, we may be killed for this faith but God has given us the crown of life. What God has given, no one can steal. Hold fast to the Name. Be resolved to keep the faith.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers