Daily Reformation, Mark 4:35-41
From the Reformer
Adam, [Paul] says, by his disobedience in Paradise, became the source of sin and death in the world; by the sin of this one man, condemnation passed upon all men. But on the other hand, Christ, by his obedience and righteousness, has become for us the abundant source wherefrom all may obtain righteousness and the power of obedience. And with respect to the latter source, it is far richer and more abundant than the former. While by the single sin of one man, sin and death passed upon all men, to wax still more powerful with the advent of the Law, of such surpassing strength and greatness, on the other hand, is the grace and bounty which we have in Christ that it not only washes away the particular sin of the one man Adam, which, until Christ came, overwhelmed all men in death, but overwhelms and blots out all sin whatever. Thus they who receive his fullness of grace and bounty unto righteousness are, according to Paul, lords of life through Jesus Christ alone.
—Martin Luther, Assorted Sermons, “The Twofold Use of the Law and Gospel”
Pulling It Together
The young man had never really trusted Christ as his Savior. He thought he had because he had gone to the altar and prayed with the evangelist. However, ever since that night at the Revival, he loathed himself because he was a sinner and wondered if he was not really a Christian.
The kingdom called heaven is inherited by those who trust the power of God over their lives instead of trusting their own strength. Being Christian does not mean being perfect or being able to overcome your sinful self. It means relying on the One who is perfect to do the overcoming for you — and despite you. You will never be satisfied with your ability to come completely alongside the will of God. (God help you if you are satisfied!) Yet, you may always be satisfied with his grace and forgiveness. Depend upon his grace, despite the self-loathing and ironically, you will discover great strength in that dependence. True strength comes not with independence but through dependence on the One with the power to lend. Act outside of your self-directed vision and trust the only source of real strength, revival, and salvation.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers