Daily Reform, Day 182
Galatians 2:20 & Mark 9:23-24
From the Reformer
Hence, Christ is no Moses, no tyrant, no lawgiver, but the Giver of grace, the Savior, full of mercy. In short, He is no less than infinite mercy and ineffable goodness, bountifully giving Himself for us. Visualize Christ in these His true colors. I do not say that it is easy. Even in the present diffusion of the Gospel light, I have much trouble to see Christ as Paul portrays Him. So deeply has the diseased opinion that Christ is a lawgiver sunk into my bones. You younger men are a good deal better off than we who are old. You have never become infected with the nefarious errors on which I suckled all my youth, until at the mention of the name of Christ I shivered with fear. You, I say, who are young may learn to know Christ in all His sweetness.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
It is difficult not to think that I have to do something to merit eternal life. It is made the more complicated because I have been taught by so many preachers and teachers and professors who offer a skewed view of salvation. Most have taught a tradition of men. This is the more problematic since they use the Bible to teach their errors. And it is all the more convoluted because even now, their teaching does not seem to be off by much—but their error is nonetheless, enormous and insidious.
All too often, people will say they have salvation because they went forward at the end of a service, or that they prayed a sinner’s prayer, or that they finally got baptized in the correct way. Notice how Jesus is missing from these responses. Or they imagine that they must ask Jesus into their hearts. But if accepting Jesus is the result of a reasoning process one goes through to decide whether he is true or not, then one’s ability to reason has been made savior. It is so hard to imagine that salvation really does not have anything to do with me—except that Jesus offers his righteousness to me. Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers