"Grace Without a Question-Mark"
Romans 8:32 - He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
No one, since the days of the apostles, so clearly understood the victorious certainly of Christian faith and believed its power with every beat of his heart and every fiber of his being as the great Christian hero and founder of the new age, Martin Luther. To understand the great Reformer and the uncompromising bravery with which he battled for the Bible, for the Christ, and for the Cross, we must recall the shattering agonies of his inner conflict. There he is, a desperate soul drowning in the depths of spiritual doubt, a haggard, emaciated monk, feverishly groping for the forgiveness of his sins. He falls exhausted from the fasting and the rigors of his self-imposed penances.
Crushed by this uncertainly, he shudders at the very mention of Christ, confessing, as he later did: "How often I was horrified at the Name of Jesus, and when I regarded Him on the cross, it was as if I had been struck by lightning!" Then, thank God, a beam of grace brightens his heart, and the great awakening dawns. Paging through St. Paul's letter to the Romans, Luther learned for the first time in his 30 years to conclude with the great apostle that "a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law." He found in his God the all-merciful Father, who, in the words of our text, "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." Gone were the tormenting questions of his conscience, "Have I done enough to earn the pardon of God? Have I followed the right path in paying for my sins? Have I forfeited my past forgiveness with my new transgressions?" Gone forever the trembling mistrust of the Scriptures, the failure to take God at His Word, the hesitation in believing that this free Gospel had a personal and pointed message for him! Gone forever every question of doubt! And with Christ at his side, he arose to challenge a world in arms against him!
I ask the same victorious certainty of you. If it were in the power of my bestowal to grant you life's highest blessing, the happiest hope, I should not regard all the crown jewels of royal treasuries, the titled honors of nobility, the pleasure and power of wealth, the medals and degrees of human distinctions, as worthy of comparison with this faith that knows no question-mark; for diamonds pearls, and rubies sometimes crack; the revolutionary trends of our day may snatch titles and honors in an unexpected moment; the applause of the masses soon dies in its own echoes; and money, as you have learned, may be here today, yet lost or stolen tomorrow. But this faith lives forever. And because on the great and glorious day of the resurrection I want to stand with you, please God with every one of you, before the throne of the risen Christ, I ask you in His Name to make this exalted faith yours, to live it and to die in it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, the grace You offer through Your Son is without rival. Seal our minds and hearts in service to You that we may be living examples of Your mercy. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen.
From "Grace Without a Question-Mark" a sermon excerpt from Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker for The Lutheran Hour
Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 3-4 2 Corinthians 12
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