A Comfortable Life

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

From the Reformer

Now the meaning of the contrasting clause, “the spirit giveth life,” becomes clear. The reference is to naught else but the holy Gospel, a message of healing and salvation; a precious, comforting word. It comforts and refreshes the sad heart. It wrests it out of the jaws of death and hell, as it were, and transports it to the certain hope of eternal life, through faith in Christ. When the last hour comes to the believer, and death and God’s judgment appear before his eyes, he does not base his comfort upon his works. Even though he may have lived the holiest life possible, he says with Paul (1Co 4:4): “I know nothing against myself, yet am I not hereby justified.”

—Martin Luther, Sermons, “The Twofold Use of the Law & Gospel”

Pulling It Together

Several years ago, I complained of a condition I thought might be vertigo. After various tests, I was diagnosed with a two-centimeter tumor just outside of the brain. Upon consultation with a second neurologist, he added multiple sclerosis to my condition. Further tests showed no sclerosis. It was determined that I should come back in six months for further tests to determine any growth of the tumor. When the time came, it being a teaching hospital, a different neurologist saw me and disagreed with the earlier diagnosis. After meeting with the best neurologists, they concluded it was not a tumor but a large blood vessel.

There are some who would call that a healing; still others, poor medicine; and a few, a malpractice suit. Some people are physically healed, some mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Some not at all. I believe I was emotionally healed by being delivered from a workplace that had caused such stress that it produced the outcome of an instable world. Further, I believe there was a purpose in it. For over a year, my family, co-workers, and congregation saw me continue my life and ministry as though there were nothing wrong but some episodes of dizziness and poor spatial judgment.

The Apostle himself complained of some chronic affliction. Yet he continued in his ministry knowing that the Spirit gives life. It is sufficient for us to know that God loves us, that we are within his caring will, and that there is precious comfort, peace, and healing in his word. Healing, comfort, and peace are not contingent on physical healings or even our feelings.

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

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