My Sin and God’s Grace

Carl Trueman, a Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, published an article about blog attacks in Reformation 21, the online magazine for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals at: http://www.reformation21.org/counterpoints/wages-of-spin/thank-god-for-bandit-country.php. (Actually, I was made aware of the original article by reading Justin Taylor’s blog at: http://theologica.blogspot.com/) In the article he mentioned the following from the life of Martin Luther:

“It is well-known that in his writings in table conversation Luther would often refer to visits from the Devil, how the Devil would come to him and whisper in his ear, accusing him of all manner of filthy sin: ‘Martin, you are a liar, greedy, lecherous, a blasphemer, a hypocrite.  You cannot stand before God.’   To which Luther would respond: ‘Well, yes, I am.  And, indeed, Satan, you do not know the half of it.  I have done much worse than that and if you care to give me your full list, I can no doubt add to it and help make it more complete.  But you know what?  My Saviour has died for all my sins – those you mention, those I could add and, indeed, those I have committed but am so wicked that I am unaware of having done so.  It does not change the fact that Christ has died for all of them; his blood is sufficient; and on the Day of Judgment I shall be exonerated because he has taken all my sins on himself and clothed me in his own perfect righteousness.’”

When we see our sin in all of its vileness, knowing that from “out of [our] heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, [and] slanders,” (Matt. 15:19) it is easy to fall into despair and cry out, “What’s the use?” However, we, like Luther, have the promise of God, that, in Christ “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.” (Eph. 1:7-8) Our hope is not to be found in our own grit and determination, but in the perfect work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Therefore, even though it is important to strive by the power of His Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to God, it is just as important to rest by faith in the redemption that is ours through Jesus Christ.

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