How can we possibly glorify God when by our very natures we are self-referencing. We judge according to appearance.
No one has to remind us that we make far too much of ourselves. Righteousness parading is very popular these days with statements like the following. “God loves you and I love you,” as if we are some essential conduit between God and man.
It’s in our lost natures to be something we are not. Jeremiah said, “My people have committed two sins, They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13
We are broken cisterns and are of no use to God. “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25
If there be a common desire among believers, it is to do the will of God, is it not? But in plain sight in all of Scripture is to surrender one's life to God And the fundamental admonition is not to talk about, or preach about it; we are to rest in that word.
The following is an example of Martin Luther which I have previously used. He said that if he had a busy day ahead he would spend hours in quiet meditation on the Word of God along with prayer. Then he would go about his daily tasks. Luther was 62 years old when he died. His life was anything but a life of peace. He was pursued by his own church, riddled with emotional pain, and wracked with physical ailments. It was the peace which came through the assurance of faith that sustained him.
We are a visual people and the images that come to us by the various media beg for replacement. The new is better than the old, leaving us with a discontentment with what we have. Furthermore we're far to busy to take time to rest in the Word.
Many do not stay in one place very long. A mother once told the story of having to move eight times in one year. While passing a rent-a-trailer place, her little daughter said, “It’s about time to get one of those trailers again.”
I’m a good example. There were a lot of physical labor jobs that I had to do on the farm. Now I fantasize having a little hobby farm.
Placed in prison by dishonest people a man wrote the following. “ I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12–13
It’s not the kind of work one does that will allow you time for contentment. Contentment comes through a relationship with God through the Scriptures which is immediately available to anyone with an iPad, iPod or iPhone.
Before the age of the media the Apostle Paul explained it to young Timothy in the following way.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10
“The heart,” [someone said] “amid every outward want, is then only truly rich when it not only wants nothing which it has not, but has that which raises it above what it has not.”
The words above are not Martin Luther’s. But they represent the idea of Martin Luther’s that the Word of God is free to all who seek it. It is the drawing board on which the purposes of one’s life are designed which believers receive by faith. Following is a brief theological summary of the five glories which Martin Luther based on the Latin word solas.
The idea of solas runs counter to everything worldviews teach us. Man is the object of glory. The five glories of Martin Luther form the foundation of a life lived to the glory of God.
Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)
These glories are based on a number of “If’s.” 1. If by faith we allow Scripture to guide us, 2. If faith alone enables us to see that we deserve nothing from God but receive what He gives us, 3. if we allow grace alone and not grace and good deeds, grace and a good heart or grace and human effort but give God alone the credit for all things past, present and the future and 4. If we receive Christ alone as our salvation, the focus is on Him and it takes the focus off of us, everyone, and everything else.
As Luther said, “This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
We read the beautiful words of Isaiah and Habakkuk.
“And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." Isaiah 6:3
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
We know life is short. But during the brief time we are here God has promised that He will be with us. Martin Luther encouraged people to set aside a time every day to worship God together as a family.
That, of course, is not easy to do with today’s busy schedules.
What stops us from using today's marvelous devices to pray together, witness to each other and to conduct short worship services, over the iPhone? Before meals we have our routine worship times. If a family member calls then, if it is not an emergency, we will often invite them into the brief worship and prayer service we are having. Then while eating we visit.
Martin Luther believed family worship was important. So do we.
For those who have retired it’s a time for travel, time to garden, to spend time in photography, making videos, writing books, and doing websites and blogs. But it is vital to one's growth in faith to spend each day in worship.
For the young, so skillful in technologies, it is spiritually wise to use them to stay in touch with God just as the stay in touch with each other. Once they get over allowing the world to take time away from God, their skills in the many forms of communicating can be the very forms in which they together, stay in touch with God.
Martin Luther has these encouraging words for the young who are concerned about not only their daily lives but in preparation for that which is beyond time.
Christ came to create a path for us to eternity by making us righteous in the sight of God. In one’s relationship with Jesus Christ it is one’s hope in the righteousness Christ has won for one that strengthens one against an eternity without God.
This is not a righteousness attained but freely given to us. Living daily in this world it draws us to itself. We have no defense against it because we are part of it. Keeping in touch every day with Jesus reminds us daily that He comes into our lives as we live them in this world. He works the faith in us unto righteousness.
This very issue is what Martin Luther brought to our awareness. Being justified before God is not of our doing. The words of Promise that come to us through daily time in God’s Word assures us of what Christ is doing for us.
Therefore, whether alone or with someone else or wherever we are we begin the day and end it we are the Lord’s. And to Him we give all the glory. It is only through vita passiva, a childlike trust in what Christ is doing for us that sustains us in faith.
Secured by grace through faith we go about living, not through proving ourselves worthy, but through sola fide.
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