The Struggle

Daily Reform, Day 138

Galatians 2:17 & Romans 15:8-13

From the Reformer

Whoever teaches that good works are indispensable unto salvation, that to gain heaven a person must suffer afflictions and follow the example of Christ and of the saints, is a minister of the Law, of sin, wrath, and of death, for the conscience knows how impossible it is for a person to fulfill the Law. Why, the Law makes trouble even for those who have the Holy Spirit. What will not the Law do in the case of the wicked who do not even have the Holy Spirit?

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

Life can be such a struggle. When my aim is to live by the Law, it is a terrible effort. I can not do it no matter how hard I try. Worse, because I fail, my conscience tells me that God surely does not love me as much as I had thought. When I continue to fail in my labor to live by the Law, I fear God may not love me at all, that I am worthless and condemned. That is what it is like to attempt to live by the Law. The Law is perfect; I am not.

Life can also be an experience of joy and peace. When I make my aim to live through Christ, his Holy Spirit reminds me of the great love of Jesus that supersedes my pitiful attempts at being religious. He reminds me that I am justified by my Lord having kept the Law for my sake. He reminds me in his Word that joy and peace will never come by my vain attempts to live by the Law. It is quite the opposite experience; such striving only brings sadness and struggle. Joy and peace come by believing in the One who fulfilled the Law for me. This is the hope of the Christian that gives life when life seems to be a struggle.

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

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