Listening To Luther

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Listening To Luther

Whenever I get up to speak, I feel as if there are 30 or 40 people standing behind me who have contributed to everything I'm about to say. Each of those people did one thing: they helped me to understand grace.

By the time I was midway through college, I would have characterized myself as a depressed legalist. I was trying please God and earn His favor on my own merit, and it was killing me.

That's when I got introduced to grace. Through the writing and teaching of historical and contemporary theologians, the Lord opened my eyes to grace. Ever since, my life and ministry has been a meditation of, a celebration of, an explanation of, and an application of God's liberating grace.

Martin Luther

One of the most influential theologians that shaped my understanding of grace was Martin Luther. Below is an excerpt from his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, followed by a poem I wrote in response to his exegesis.

NOTE: as of 1:00pm today, you could download the Kindle version of Luther's commentary for free on Amazon. I would strongly encourage you to do so.

"With Paul we absolutely deny the possibility of self merit. God never yet gave to any person grace and everlasting life as a reward for merit...

The true way of salvation is this. First, a person must realize that he is a sinner, the kind of sinner who is congenitally unable to do any good thing. "Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin." Those who seek to earn the grace of God by their own efforts are trying to please God with sins. They mock God, and provoke His anger. The first step on the way to salvation is to repent."

Listening to Luther

I want to believe
that there is another way.
I want to think
that I am the exception to the rule.
I grasp at the thought
that my righteousness is enough.
I hold to the hope
that my behavior satisfies you.
I want to think
that you judge me worthy.
It is my evaluation
that I am capable of your standard.
I want to hold onto my assessment
that I am not like others,
I can plainly see
that they offend your law.
I get the fact
that they fall short of your glory.
I know very well
that they can't stand before you.
But I still want to think
that I am not like them.
I want to hold your Word
and my righteousness at the same time.
I want to celebrate the Gospel
and my worthiness together.
But it is
a self-sufficient delusion.
It aggrandizes me and diminishes You.
It minimizes sin and devalues grace.
It asks the law to do
what only grace can accomplish.
It denies the daily evidence
of my sin.
It ignores the true condition
of my heart.
It turns away
from the sacrifice that you have made.
It omits the sovereign plan
of your grace.
It forgets the desperate condition
of my need.
And so I turn
to what I know is true.
I am nothing
without you.
I accept the invitation
of your grace.
I run to the sacrifice
of the Cross.
I cry for the help
of your Spirit.
I accept the diagnosis
of your Word.
I trust the faithfulness
of your love.
I seek the forgiveness
you alone can give.
And I reject
the righteousness that is my own.

Posted by Benjamin Fallon at 6:00 AM
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