Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Gospel Is True And This Is Where You Live

A Reformation Day Message of Good News

So, if I would find comfort and life, when I am at the point of death, I must do nothing else but apprehend Christ, and look at Him, and say: I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who suffered, was crucified, and died for me: in whose wounds, and in whose death I see my sin, and in His resurrection victory over sin, death, and the devil, also righteousness and eternal life. Besides Him I see nothing, I hear nothing. This is true faith concerning Christ, and in Christ, whereby we are made "members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones." "In Him, therefore, we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
~ Martin Luther

(Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31st or the last weekend in October in remembrance of the Reformation. On that day, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the good news of salvation by grace through faith. You can read more about it here.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Comfort For The Afflicted Sinner

Contrariwise, we teach and comfort the afflicted sinner after this manner: Brother, it is not possible for thee to become so righteous in this life, that thou shouldst feel no sin at all, that thy body should be clean like the sun, without spot or blemish: but thou hast yet wrinkles and spots, and yet art thou holy notwithstanding. But thou wilt say: How can I be holy when I have and feel sin in me? 

The Pool of Bethesda, 1736 WIlliam Hogarth
I answer: In that thou dost feel and acknowledge thy sin, it is a good token: give thanks unto God, and despair not. It is one step to health, when the sick man doth acknowledge and confess his infirmity. But how shall I be delivered from sin? Run to Christ, the physician, who healeth them that are broken in heart, and saveth sinners. If thou believe, thou art righteous, because thou givest glory unto God, that He is almighty, merciful, true, etc., thou justifiest and praisest God. Thou yieldest unto Him His divinity, and whatsoever else belongeth unto Him: and the sin which remaineth in thee is not laid to thy charge, but is pardoned for Christ's sake, in whom thou believest, who is perfectly just: whose righteousness is thy righteousness, and thy sin He took upon Himself.

~ Martin Luther Commentary on Galatians

Thursday, October 17, 2013

An Ample and Large Heaven of the Forgiveness of Sins

For as long as I live in the flesh, sin is truly in me. But because I am covered under the shadow of Christ’s wings, as is the chicken under the wing of the hen, and dwell without any fear under that most  ample and large heaven of the forgiveness of sins, which is spread over me, God covereth and pardoneth the remnant of sin in me; that is to say, because of that faith wherewith I began to lay hold upon Christ, He accepteth my imperfect righteousness even for perfect righteousness, and counteth my sin for no sin...

~ Martian Luther, Commentary on Galatians

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Need Good News Today?

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28

What refreshment to weary and worn out people. Jesus says, only believe. Rest from all you are trying to do to earn your way. 

Jesus accomplished everything on your behalf - so great is his love for you! Go, and live out of the love you have received!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

God Loves Who We Really Are

God weeps over us when shame and self-hatred immobilize us. Yet as soon as we lose our nerve about ourselves, we take cover. Adam and Eve hid, and we all, in one way or another, have used them as role models. Why? Because we do not like what we see. It is uncomfortable— intolerable— to confront our true selves. Simon Tugwell, in his book The Beatitudes, explains: And so, like runaway slaves, we either flee our own reality or manufacture a false self which is mostly admirable, mildly prepossessing, and superficially happy. We hide what we know or feel ourselves to be (which we assume to be unacceptable and unlovable) behind some kind of appearance which we hope will be more pleasing. 

We hide behind  pretty faces which we put on for the benefit of our public. And in time we may even come to forget that we are hiding, and think that our assumed pretty face is what we really look like. But God loves who we really are— whether we like it or not. God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding. No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable to Him.

~ Brennan Manning Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Luther On Justification

When we are in the matter of justification, there is no time or place to speak of the law: but the question is, what Christ is, and what benefit He hath brought unto us. Christ is not the law; He is not my work, or the work of the law; He is not my charity, my obedience, my poverty; but He is the Lord of life and death, a mediator, a savior, a redeemer of those that are under the law and sin. In Him we are by faith, and He in us. The bridegroom must be alone with the bride, all the family and servants being put apart. But afterwards, when the door of their chamber is open, and he cometh forth, then let charity do her office, and let good works be done.

 ~ Martin Luther Commentary on Galatians