The Gifts of God

Daily Reform, Day 209

Galatians 2:21 & Ephesians 1:11-14

From the Reformer

There is a touch of irony in these words of the Apostle. “Come on now, my smart Galatians, you who all of a sudden have become doctors, while I seem to be your pupil: Received ye the Holy Ghost by the works of the Law, or by the preaching of the Gospel?” This question gave them something to think about, because their own experience contradicted them.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

The gifts of God always come through his mercy and grace—not because we deserve them or earned them. This is the point that Paul continues to make. To illustrate this very thing, Luther says elsewhere that we are brought into the Church by the Holy Spirit through hearing and continuing to hear the Word of God. (Large Catechism, II 52) For example, if we think that we are members of Christ’s Body, the Church, because we got up and walked down the aisle one Sunday and joined, we could not be more mistaken. I am a member of Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Asheboro, North Carolina, because I did that very thing. But I am a member of Christ’s Church because his Holy Spirit called me through the Word of God. I remain a member of his Church because I still hear that Word—not because I did anything. God is the doer; I am the receiver.

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

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