Daily Reform, Day 210
Galatians 2:21 & Acts 11:1-18
From the Reformer
“You cannot say that you received the Holy Spirit by the Law. As long as you were servants of the Law, you never received the Holy Ghost. Nobody ever heard of the Holy Ghost being given to anybody, be he doctor or dunce, as a result of the preaching of the Law. In your own case, you have not only learned the Law by heart, you have labored with all your might to perform it. You most of all should have received the Holy Ghost by the Law, if that were possible. You cannot show me that this ever happened. But as soon as the Gospel came your way, you received the Holy Ghost by the simple hearing of faith, before you ever had a chance to do a single good deed.” Luke verifies this statement of Paul in the Book of Acts: “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” (Acts 10:44.) “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” (Acts 11:15.)
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
God’s gifts are always free. They cost us nothing and come to us even before we have a chance to earn them. This favor is God’s good and gracious gift to us. Yet later, though we know better, we try to earn God’s favor. How disappointed God must feel at our lack of faith. What we at first freely received we now try to purchase with our goodness. The irony is that we are deficient in such goodness even if it could buy God’s gifts.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers