Friday, April 27, 2012
JAMES & MARTIN
This morning I have been reading a portion of the testimony of Martin Luther and have discovered that he and James might have been great friends and companions had they known each other. It seems that Martin suffered with a great restlessness over the subject of righteousness through faith. He apparently spent a great deal of time as an Augustinian monk seeking a way to stop that which is natural to us all… the rise of temptation within ourselves. His struggle to gain righteousness turned his heart to hate. It kept him torn about his real relationship with Christ. “What more can I do,” to stop this rising desire with in me?
As he sought answers to his dilemma, Christ suddenly cleared his head and he realized this (in his own words):
Then it suddenly came to my mind: If we are to live righteously because of righteousness by faith, and this righteousness of God is intended to save everyone who believes, it follows that righteousness is by faith, and life (is lived) by righteousness.
Doesn’t that sound a lot like: “Yes, a man may say, you have faith and I have works: show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works”. (James 2:18) Luther goes on to say that “If a good works can save a man, then apples and pears can also save him!”
He also explains: …He (Jesus) says “I am the way” (John14:6),. He does not say, “I give you the way,” as if He were working and giving me this way while He Himself is standing outside of me. He must be, remain, live, and speak in me, as Paul says, ‘That we might be the righteousness of God in Him,’ not in the love and gifts that follow.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
What an opportune moment it has been to have picked this book to read at just this time. The weaving of God’s plan in my life and yours goes on and on just as He desires within the confines of the Truth He has bestowed upon us
On a recent Sunday, as if in cahoots with God, our Pastor Joe preached on 2 John, explaining the inextricable connection between Truth and Love. “You can’t have one without the other.” (Remember that song about Love and Marriage. I do not wonder why we don’t hear that song much anymore.) But back to the subject, Christ has definitely defined Himself as the Truth, the Way and the Life, as well as Love and Righteousness and all other things that are God. Therefore it is not at all unreasonable to realize that we are made righteous through Him and In Him and that the life we live as Christians can only be lived in Him and through Him.
Let us give a BIG thank-you to James and to Martin for so clearly showing us what God has taught them and, of course to God, who’s Word is perfect and is always teaching us if we are listening and doing in His name. We are here today, able to freely practice our faith in great part because James, the brother of Christ, and Martin Luther, a troubled soul, spoke out for a personal, recognizable relationship with Jesus Christ. May we all live in a way that will not bring shame to His Name, but will encourage others to seek His awesome presence in their lives.