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Daily Reform, Day 134

Galatians 2:17 & John 19:1-10

From the Reformer

With their doctrine these lying sects of perdition deface the benefits of Christ to this day. They rob Christ of His glory as the Justifier of mankind and cast Him into the role of a minister of sin. They are like the false apostles. There is not a single one among them who knows the difference between law and grace.

We can tell the difference. We do not here and now argue whether we ought to do good works, or whether the Law is any good, or whether the Law ought to be kept at all. We will discuss these questions some other time. We are now concerned with justification. Our opponents refuse to make this distinction. All they can do is to bellow that good works ought to be done. We know that. We know that good works ought to be done, but we will talk about that when the proper time comes. Now we are dealing with justification, and here good works should not be so much as mentioned.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

It is not a matter, of course, as to whether Christians should do good. Certainly we should do good for the glory of God. The question is, do these good works justify us to God? No; that is not my job, or yours. It is the Son of Man who came to save the lost. If I think my good deeds put me in some special relationship with God that does not need rescuing, then I am lost indeed.

The best option is to be silent about our supposed goodness and claim Christ’s work on our behalf. This is accomplished by faith in the grace of God, not by our efforts. It is hard to imagine one being so bold as to claim faith in Christ’s saving work and then say, Well yes, but have you heard what I have done for you, Lord?

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

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