Daily Reform, Day 174
Galatians 2:20 & 1 Timothy 4:13-16
From the Reformer
The sophistical papists assert that a person is able by natural strength to love God long before grace has entered his heart, and to perform works of real merit. They believe they are able to fulfill the commandments of God. They believe they are able to do more than God expects of them, so that they are in a position to sell their superfluous merits to laymen, thereby saving themselves and others. They are saving nobody. On the contrary, they abolish the Gospel, they deride, deny, and blaspheme Christ, and call upon themselves the wrath of God. This is what they get for living in their own righteousness, and not in the faith of the Son of God.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
I have been looking for eight books for many years and finally found them a few weeks ago. They arrived in the mail yesterday. I could not be happier. This set of books is called The Bible Story Library and contains, as you might imagine, the biblical story from creation to apocalypse. I read these books over and over as a child, especially fascinated by the flood, Samson, and David. I still recall the thought occurring to me one day, sitting on our sofa at perhaps the age of eight or nine, that maybe I would be allowed to read that zippered King James Bible my mother kept on the dining room table. She allowed me to do so, of course, and there I found, as someone else has put it, the rest of the story.
Did I read the Bible because I loved God? I did not; at least the concept of loving God was foreign to me at that time. Was my reading of the Bible some good work that accrued merit for me with God? No; but in the reading I learned of a Savior “who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) God was calling to me at that young age, revealing himself to me in his Word. This is how we save others: by sharing God’s Word with them so that he may draw them to himself. I share the Word with you so that you may hear and be saved. (Rom 10:17) If only I could share those eight book with you…
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers