Original photo by Lisa Williams
Daily Reformation, Romans 3:28-31
From the Reformer
Outwardly you keep the law with works out of fear of punishment or love of gain. Likewise you do everything without free desire and love of the law; you act out of aversion and force. You’d rather act otherwise if the law didn’t exist. It follows, then, that you, in the depths of your heart, are an enemy of the law. What do you mean, therefore, by teaching another not to steal, when you, in the depths of your heart, are a thief and would be one outwardly too, if you dared. (Of course, outward work doesn’t last long with such hypocrites.)
—Martin Luther, Preface to Romans
Pulling It Together
The man bought a nice new pair of leather shoes. He loved the shoes—the way they felt as well as the way they looked. He received so many compliments about those handsome shoes that he would not take them off at the end of the day. He wore them to bed, staring at them, sticking out beneath his blanket, until he fell asleep. After many days his feet began to stink so badly that people no longer saw his fine shoes. Instead they had become acutely aware of how badly they stunk.
God does not look at the outer person and her actions alone but looks primarily at the inner person that changes the outer. A façade cannot long hide, let alone change, an interior. The demand of God that one become a new creation is effected by faith. Without reliance upon God, this law can never be satisfied. God will not be fooled; he looks at the inner person that causes the actions. If the soul has not been justified and renovated by the Spirit of God, there is no hope for the shell.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers