Where Is Your Victory?

Daily Reform, Day 135

Galatians 2:17 & 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

From the Reformer

Paul’s argument has often comforted me. He argues: “If we who have been justified by Christ are counted unrighteous, why seek justification in Christ at all? If we are justified by the Law, tell me, what has Christ achieved by His death, by His preaching, by His victory over sin and death? Either we are justified by Christ, or we are made worse sinners by Him.”

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

If we are not justified by what Christ did for us on the cross, all is lost. You may claim that, yes, Christ justified you but now you must add to what he did with a sufficient supply of your own saving works. That argument cannot hold for it is neither scriptural nor logical. Nowhere in scripture are we told that Christ’s saving work is inadequate — quite the contrary. Further, if our own works are saving or must be added to what Christ did, then there was no need for the Son of Man to suffer. Worse, his victory was shallow because it did not accomplish what God intended.

Thanks be to God that what he did does indeed make us righteous unto God. Nothing we add to Christ’s work makes us any more just. Christ did not need our assistance to save us. Thus, one day a minister of the Gospel will stand over our graves and ask, “Death, where is your victory?” Death does not have the victory. Instead, Christ is victorious over sin and death. We live in his victory not our own.

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

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