Bless Your Heart

Daily Reform, Day 119

Galatians 2:16 & Psalm 14:1-3

From the Reformer

In contrast to the doting dreams of the scholastics, we teach this: First a person must learn to know himself from the Law. With the prophet he will then confess: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And, “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” And, “against thee, thee only, have I sinned.”

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

One does not become righteous because she was raised in church. One does not become godly by doing good deeds. Righteousness is not a reward for being moral. People who are not righteous may be church-goers, doers of good deeds, and conduct themselves with fine behavior.

A southernism comes to mind. “Bless your heart, darlin’.” When southerners say this to someone, it does not necessarily mean that they are imparting a blessing. Indeed, it typically does not imply they have said a good thing at all. It means that they think you are such a dolt that you need God’s help to get better — indeed, that you are so far gone that he probably will not be much help either. Now it appeared at first that the southerner was being quite mannered but at second glance, it becomes clear that she was actually leveling an insult. Her seemingly righteous behavior was actually otherwise.

You go to church? You do nice things? You are polite? And as a result, you think you are a godly person? Bless your heart, darlin’.

May the full force of God’s Law oppress you and me and convince us of our sinful standing before God. Only then will we be prepared to accept the grace of God that conveys his righteousness. This is not something we can do on our own. It is freely given by God to we doltish darlin’s who have come to realize that need his righteousness — and less of our own.

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

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