He is so pastoral, he has a great way of presenting theology in a simple and clear way, and, who could not love his “dialogues” with the soul?
Just as I’m finishing up my seminary training and may be tempted to think that I have somehow grasped theology, Luther’s words bring me back to reality in my morning devotions.
Grace is present when your heart is restored by the promise of God’s free mercy. Then your heart can say with the author of Psalm 42, [here’s one of those great dialogues!] “O my soul, why are you so troubled and restless? Do you see only the law, sin, terror, sadness, despair, death, hell, and the devil? Aren’t grace, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, comfort, joy, peace, life, heaven, Christ, and God also present? Stop being troubled, my soul. What are the law, sin, and everything evil compared to them? Trust God. He didn’t spare His own Son but offered him up to death on a cross for your sins.”
So when you are frightened by the law, you can say, “Lady Law, you are not the only thing, and you are not everything. Besides you there is something even greater and better, specifically, grace, faith, and blessing. They don’t accuse, frighten, or condemn me. They comfort me, tell me to expect the best, and assure me of my certain victory and salvation in Christ. So there’s no reason for me to despair.”
[And now, the exhortation to me in my last quarter and to all pastors who may be tempted to think they have a grasp on things!]
Whoever truly understands this can be called a theologian. Certain leaders who are always boasting about the Spirit believe that they understand living by faith extremely well. I, however, and others like me know that we scarcely possess the fundamentals. We are diligent students in the school where the art of faith is taught. No matter who well it’s taught, as long as we remain in these sinful bodies, we will never finish learning.*
Lord, may I ever be a willing and humble student of your grace in Jesus Christ!
*From Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, James C. Galvin, General Editor. Zondervan, 2005.