Focus

Daily Reform, Da7 97

Galatians 2:12 & 2 Corinthians 7:8-11

From the Reformer

It is surprising that Peter, excellent apostle that he was, should have been guilty of such vacillation. In a former council at Jerusalem he practically stood alone in defense of the truth that salvation is by faith, without the Law. Peter at that time valiantly defended the liberty of the Gospel. But now by abstaining from meats forbidden in the Law, he went against his better judgment. You have no idea what danger there is in customs and ceremonies. They so easily tend to error in works.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

It is no wonder George Fox had a problem with ritual. To be sure, he objected because he believed rites led to coldness in religion. But as Luther notes, they can also lead to error — cold, hard error. The season of Lent, for example, may be a time of deep reflection and sorrow that leads to repentance. It might just as easily be a time that leads one to the error that the following of ritual leads to a heavenly reward. What we abstain from eating — as some give up meat or chocolate for Lent — does not save us. Nevertheless, such sacrifices can lead to contrition and greater dependence upon the One who does save us. Whatever your practice, make Christ the focus, not your religion.

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

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