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Daily Reformation, 1 John 4:7-10
From the Reformer
Christ, says Paul, has delivered us from this wicked kingdom of the devil and the world according to the good will, the pleasure and commandment of the Father. Hence we are not delivered by our own will, or shrewdness, or wisdom, but by the mercy and love of God, as it is written (1Jn 4:10), “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Another reason why Paul, like John, emphasizes the Father’s will is Christ’s habit of directing attention to the Father. For Christ came into the world to reconcile God with us and to draw us to the Father.
Not by curious inquiries into the nature of God shall we know God and His purpose for our salvation, but by taking hold of Christ, who according to the will of the Father has given Himself into death for our sins. When we understand this to be the will of the Father in Christ, then shall we know God to be merciful, and not angry. We shall realize that He loved us wretched sinners so much indeed that He gave us His only-begotten Son into death for us.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
This is the precise opposite of Gnostic gospels such as The Gospel of Judas. In that “good news,” it is Judas who is the hero—not Jesus. Judas does the work of obtaining his own salvation (or rather, enlightenment). Christ’s death accomplishes nothing salvific in Judas but is instead a charade of the sort that huckster preachers attempt in tent shows. The point in this gospel is that Judas knows the truth—even if the “truth” is a lie.
The Bible however, teaches that deliverance is not about what one does or knows. The very good news of the Christian Gospels is in who you know and that he has chosen to know you.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers