Pure Religion

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Daily Reformation, Exodus 20:1-17

From the Reformer

I am of opinion indeed, that here one will find his hands full, [and will have enough] to do to observe these, namely, meekness, patience, and love towards enemies, chastity, kindness, etc., and what such virtues imply. But such works are not of value and make no display in the eyes of the world; for they are not peculiar and conceited works and restricted to particular times, places, rites, and customs, but are common, every-day domestic works which one neighbor can practise toward another; therefore they are not of high esteem.

Martin Luther, The Large Catechism, “The Ten Commandments”

Pulling It Together

“Praise God for the Wilsons!” the preacher said. What he meant was that they had given the money to buy a new pipe organ for the church. Well, yes, God should be praised for the Wilsons’ gift but it sounded more like he was actually praising the Wilsons. These are the works that cause people to notice other people. Yet these are the easy things. It is a far more difficult thing to day in and day out, show simple kindnesses to common people. It is more difficult to be patient, meek, and charitable than to ring a bell, light a candle, or write a check. But what is the more godly thing to practice? And which of these suggests the presence of his Spirit in a life? Praise God for the sister who teaches the orphan and the brother who repairs the widow’s roof. This is evidence of a “pure religion.” (James 1:27)

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

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