Daily Reform, Day 149
Galatians 2:19 & John 8:48-59
From the Reformer
This cheering form of speech is frequently met with in the Scriptures, particularly in the writings of St. Paul, when the Law is set against the Law, and sin is made to oppose sin, and death is arrayed against death, and hell is turned loose against hell, as in the following quotations: “Thou hast led captivity captive,” Psalm 68:18. “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction,” Hosea 13:14. “And for sin, condemned sin in the flesh,” Romans 8:3.
Here Paul plays the Law against the Law, as if to say: “The Law of Moses condemns me; but I have another law, the law of grace and liberty which condemns the accusing Law of Moses.”
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Paul does not here mean that he is lawless. Indeed, his character indicates that he held to the highest ethics. What he means is that those ethics (here, the Law) had no claim on his eternal soul. His assertion goes further. When his moral principles would condemn him, he declares that he is not condemned by that ethical code. Ethics could not kill him because he was dead to morals and alive by the grace of God.
The Apostle’s lasting and greatest desire was that we would not consider ourselves enlightened or spiritually alive because we are able to keep a great moral code, but because we keep Christ’s word. His word is that he is the Light of the World and that if you continue to follow him, to walk in the light though stumbling along the way, you will have the Light of Life. This is the will of Jesus: that we keep walking in the Light.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers