Daily Reform, Day 185
Galatians 2:21 & Exodus 20:1-17
From the Reformer
We despise the grace of God when we observe the Law for the purpose of being justified. The Law is good, holy, and profitable, but it does not justify. To keep the Law in order to be justified means to reject grace, to deny Christ, to despise His sacrifice, and to be lost.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Luther’s second sentence sums it up nicely. “The Law is good, holy, and profitable, but it does not justify.” Yes! By all means keep the Law. Do not crave something that is not yours. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not commit adultery or murder. Honor your parents. Keep the Sabbath holy. Do not abuse the name of God. Do not make or worship idols. Have no other gods but the One God.
In order to keep the first commandment (the last one listed above), you must not imagine you are justified to God with help from anyone but God. To keep the Law with the hope of being righteous before God is to deny God. Indeed, it is to set yourself up as a god—able to save yourself. Therefore, to think God needs your help by you keeping the Law is to break the Law. You are breaking the very first commandment when you think God needs your assistance. So, yes! It bears repeating. Keep the Law. But do not expect that to save you from judgment.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers