Johann Gerhard (1582-1637)
After Martin Luther died in 1546 there arose a question about how to carry on his theology. Two men arose who are especially credited with “saving” Lutheran theology. One was a second Martin, Martin Chemnitz ((1522-1586). The third, Johann Gerhard carried forth the work in the 17th century. He wrote twenty-three large volumes defining Lutheran orthodoxy. He also wrote numerous other books and many of his sermons were published and are still read.
In my library I have a book of fifty-one devotions called “Sacred Meditations.” I’m including a brief excerpt from a meditation on imitating Christ.
“Is it not proper that our whole life should be conformed to Christ’s, since He has conformed Himself to our low estate out of pure love for us? God manifesting Himself in the flesh has afforded us a perfect example of a holy life, so that no one might excuse his failure to live such a life by appealing to the weakness of the flesh. No life cane be more joyful and tranquil than Christ’s because Christ is true God; and what can be more joyful and tranquil than the true God Himself, the highest good?…If you begin to conform yourself to the life of Christ here, then in the resurrection you will be more fully conformed to Him…If for Christ’s sake you renounce in this life your own honor, your own love, your own will, then in the future life Christ will graciously make you a sharer of His own honor, His own love, His own will.”
Prayer: Lord, make us more and more like You, O blessed Jesus, that in the world to come we may be perfectly conformed to You.