Thanks for your prayers for our family as we traveled to and back from the Ligonier Regional Conference in Wittenberg. It was an unforgettable time of learning about the life and theology of Luther. We also had the joy of singing the great hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” in All Saints’ Church (Schlosskirche) where Luther is buried. In 1517, Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the church’s door.
This coming Sunday, we’ll complete our study on Acts 17 and begin Romans 8. The questions we’ll consider are:
What makes a person a Christian?
What does the believer’s ultimate destiny look like?
As an introduction, here is a part of Martin Luther’s Preface to his commentary on Romans:
This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes. Therefore I want to carry out my service and, with this preface, provide an introduction to the letter, insofar as God gives me the ability, so that every one can gain the fullest possible understanding of it.
I love the way Romans 8 begins: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
What an amazing encouragement to those burdened by negative thoughts of their sins and failure: In Jesus there is and can be no condemnation. All condemnation was entirely absorbed for us by his act of self-sacrifice on the cross. It’s as if we appeared before the Judge of the universe and heard, “Not guilty. Free to go.”
Furthermore, no one else, no other power, not even our own conscience, has the right to condemn us. We are forgiven, our slate is clear, nothing stands against us, and we are free to enjoy the favor of God forever. It has nothing to do with how good or faithful we’ve been or how well we’ve performed. It has to do with how thoroughly God has dealt with our sins and failures and cast them into the depths of the sea to be buried forever. God’s disproportionate grace toward us far outweighs the enormity of our sin.
We should start every morning and end end every evening with this comforting knowledge and truth of God’s forgiveness—walking through each and every day with this confidence. There is no condemnation. If you fall, then get up, confess, and repent. The slate is clean again. This is the foundation for our sure and certain hope, one that is rooted not in us or our opinion of ourselves (good or bad) but in the unchanging character of God.
Chosen by God to be his, we are blessed by his mercies that are fresh every morning.
Praying for you and your families.