Saturday, August 11, 2012

Commanded to Love

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."Galatians 5:14

People who think they have a good understanding of the command to love are badly mistaken. To be sure, they have this command written on their hearts. By nature, they know that they should do to others what they want done to them (Matthew 7:12). That doesn't mean they truly understand it; otherwise they would also show it in their actions and prefer love above other works. They wouldn't make such a big deal about their antics and superstitions, which amount to nothing. Some examples of such behavior include walking around with a sad face and hanging head, being celibate, eating only bread and water, living in the desert, dressing shabbily, and so on. These are strange and superstitious works, which they choose for themselves and which God neither commands nor accepts. They consider these works so glorious and holy that they cast a dark shadow over love, which is the sun that shines over all works. The blindness of human reason is so limitless and incomprehensible that reason cannot come to a correct understanding of faith, much less make correct judgments about life and works.

Therefore, we must strongly resist our own opinions. In matters of salvation, we by nature would rather base our opinions on our hearts than on the Word of God. We also should strongly object to the mask and halo of self-chosen works. Instead, we must learn to value our calling and the responsibilities that go with it. Although these works may appear puny and contemptible, they are commanded by God. In contrast, we should despise the works that reason chooses to do apart from God's command no matter how glorious, meaningful, great, or holy they appear.

From Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther, James C. Galvin. ©2005 by Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced without written permission from Zondervan, 5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49530. Sent from the Martin Luther's Faith Alone Devotional. For devotionals like this one for your iPhone, visit us at

Grace, Freedom, Laughter! 

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