Galatians 1:1-5 & Romans 5:6-11
From the Reformer
This sentence also defines our sins as great, so great, in fact, that the whole world could not make amends for a single sin. The greatness of the ransom, Christ, the Son of God, indicates this. The vicious character of sin is brought out by the words “who gave himself for our sins.” So vicious is sin that only the sacrifice of Christ could atone for sin. When we reflect that the one little word “sin” embraces the whole kingdom of Satan, and that it includes everything that is horrible, we have reason to tremble. But we are careless. We make light of sin. We think that by some little work or merit we can dismiss sin.
This passage, then, bears out the fact that all men are sold under sin. Sin is an exacting despot who can be vanquished by no created power, but by the sovereign power of Jesus Christ alone.
All this is of wonderful comfort to a conscience troubled by the enormity of sin. Sin cannot harm those who believe in Christ, because He has overcome sin by His death.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Luther goes on to say that we can easily believe that Christ gave himself for the sins of the Apostles. After all, they were worthy of his grace. But what about your sins? Can you imagine that Jesus offers grace to the likes of you? When you are feeling particularly oppressed by your sin and know how low you truly are, can you believe then that Christ’s grace is available to you? Or do you presume that you need to take care of your condition before God’s grace can be made available? Luther says that when we try to get right in advance of his grace we are making light of sin. Sin is not so easily handled and dismissed. We cannot conjure a clear conscience and then come for grace and peace. Grace and peace are available when we are keenly aware of our miserable condition and know that Christ came to save creatures such as ourselves. This is why his grace alone can give us peace. If we know we are loved by God when we are at our worst, the peace to continue the journey is ever present.