Luther on the Word

“Our life is simply contained in the bare Word; for we have Christ, we have eternal life, eternal righteousness, help and comfort, but where is it?  We don’t see it.  We neither possess it in coffers nor hold it in our hands, but only in the bare Word.  Thus has God clothed his object in nothingness.”

Luther identifies our besetting sin in the desire to retain control over thing great and small.  It’s called works-righteousness.  It’s easy to slip from receiving a gift to earning a reward.  We want to give ourselves identity and to create meaning for our lives by our efforts and achievement.  God will not have it so.

Our salvation is clothed in nothingness.  It is God’s gift, borne by the seemingly insubstantial sound of a voice.  We never know when we shall hear God’s word in, with and under the many human words.  We never know when that word will echo so resoundingly in our hearts, stilling pain, unmasking sin, and sowing hope, that our lives take an unexpected direction.  The hardest fight is to accept that we cannot control this word.  We must let God be God.

Prayer: Gracious Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word.  Give us ears to hear, wisdom to understand and courage to respond.  Teach us confidently to receive what you would give and to surrender to you the control we covet for ourselves. Amen.

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