Self-condemned

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Daily Reformation, Psalm 25:1-10

From the Reformer

Hence the only worthy preparation and proper use of the mass is faith in the mass, that is to say, in the divine promise. Whoever, therefore, is minded to approach the altar and to receive the sacrament, let him beware of appearing empty before the Lord God. But he will appear empty unless he has faith in the mass, or this new testament. What godless work that he could commit would be a more grievous crime against the truth of God, than this unbelief of his, by which, as much as in him lies, he convicts God of being a liar and a maker of empty promises? The safest course, therefore, will be to go to mass in the same spirit in which you would go to hear any other promise of God, that is, not to be ready to perform and bring many works, but to believe and receive all that is there promised, or proclaimed by the priest as having been promised to you. If you do not go in this spirit, beware of going at all. You will surely go to your condemnation.

—Martin Luther, Preface to The Babylonian Captivity of the Church

Pulling It Together

“God cannot forgive someone like me.” He was serious; he truly believed that he was beyond God’s reach. Nevertheless he was abhorred by the preacher’s response.

“You’re right; he cannot.”

“What do you mean God won’t forgive me?” the man demanded.

“I’m only agreeing with you. Did you want me to lie to you?” The preacher continued, “Because you do not believe he could or would…because you think your sins are more powerful than God’s love, you have yet to get on your knees and ask him to forgive you. But when you do, you will find God can indeed forgive someone like you.”

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

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