Living Through Death

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Original Photo of the Dexter Mausoleum in Cincinnati, OH

Daily Reformation, Romans 9:1-5

From the Reformer

Christ must needs be true God, seeing he, through himself, fulfilled and overcame the law; for most certain it is, that no one else could have vanquished the law, angel or human creature, but Christ only, so that it cannot hurt those that believe in him; therefore, most certainly he is the Son of God, and natural God. Now if we comprehend Christ in this manner, as the Holy Scripture displays him before us, then certain it is, that we can neither err nor be put to confusion; and may then easily judge what is right to be held of all manner of divine qualities, religions, and worship, that are used and practiced in the universal world. Were this picturing of Christ removed out of our sight, or darkened in us, undeniably there must needs follow utter disorder. For human and natural religion, wisdom, and understanding, cannot judge aright or truly the laws of God; therein has been and still is exhausted the art of all philosophers, all the learned and worldly-wise among the children of men. For the law rules and governs mankind; therefore the law judges mankind, and not mankind the law.

If Christ be not God, then neither the Father nor the Holy Ghost is God; for our article of faith speaks thus: “Christ is God, with the Father and the Holy Ghost.” Many there are who talk much of the Godhead of Christ, as the pope, and others; but they discourse thereof as a blind man speaks of colors. Therefore, when I hear Christ speak, and say: “Come to me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” then do I believe steadfastly that the whole Godhead speaks in an undivided and unseparated substance. Wherefore he that preaches a God to me that died not for me the death on the cross, that God will I not receive.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

This is the glory of the Christian faith above all other beliefs and systems: that God came down and died for you. Not only this but that he raised himself from death. Many religious leaders and gods die—though none willingly as a sacrifice for your sinfulness. Further, they are still dead when Christ, your Lord and God, has risen and ascended to his Father! He did so, not so that he might live but so that you would, as Paul says: “But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:8-11)

You live because he died, destroying both sin and death. Because he rose from the dead and has ascended to the Father, you may rightly believe that your “flesh” is also dead in Christian baptism (Rom 6:3) and your spirit is revived to live a newness of life (Rom 6:4), one in step with the Holy Spirit. You are heaven-bound, ready to ascend on the last day.

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

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