Through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19
This is a paradox: As we make ourselves captives of God's Word, we become free -- free from everything that can make life a kind of hell on earth: fear, guilt, self-service, and the "I have my heaven here on earth" syndrome.
Martin Luther, the great Reformer, writes, "I do the will of God, who sent Christ. To the Word alone have I listened; and I say, 'Dear Lord Christ, I want to be Thy pupil and believe thy Word, want to close my eyes and make myself a captive of Thy Word.' Then He makes me a free lord."
The Law makes humanity into a fear-filled, guilt-laden slave. It demands, threatens, and condemns. No one can reach the moral perfection it demands. Therefore the pronouncement: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law" (Galatians 3:10). Thank God for this: "Christ is the end of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4). While the Law condemns, the Gospel announces God's saving purpose in Christ, creates and confirms faith in God's promise, and imparts all blessings for which Christ went to the cross: divine favor, forgiveness, life now and eternal life to come, membership in God's family, peace.
Only by faith in the Gospel are we made acceptable to God and made free for discipleship. The Reformation gave new emphasis to this truth. Hand in hand with freedom from the curse of the Law comes the freedom to serve God. God's saving grace in Jesus Christ does not compel us to discipleship, like a man being drafted and compelled to serve in the army; it prompts Christians to volunteer for service under Christ's banner.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for all the blessings of Your saving grace, especially for the opportunity You give me to be Your disciple. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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