Daily Reform, Day 154

Galatians 2:19 & Romans 14:7-9

From the Reformer

We have two propositions: To live unto the Law, is to die unto God. To die unto the Law, is to live unto God. These two propositions go against reason. No law-worker can ever understand them. But see to it that you understand them. The Law can never justify and save a sinner. The Law can only accuse, terrify, and kill him. Therefore to live unto the Law is to die unto God. Vice versa, to die unto the Law is to live unto God. If you want to live unto God, bury the Law, and find life through faith in Christ Jesus.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

Strict adherence to reason, when reason simply cannot comprehend, is a tool of the devil. This is why Luther said that “reason is the Devil’s greatest whore.” When reason becomes one’s religion it can keep you from taking the step of faith. Even so, reason is fine, up to a point. Luther did not mean that a Christian should detest reason. Reason should always be employed. Luther himself used reason, as you have seen in his writing here. Yet faith defies reason. “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” (Voltaire) Faith says to die so that you may live. This seems unreasonable and yet faith understands the statement. Augustine said, “crede, ut intelligas,”—“believe so that you may understand.” (Tract. Ev. Jo., 29.6)

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

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