Getting Over Yourself? Ask Martin Luther

“We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor. Yet he always remains in God & in His love.” Luther Works, vol. 31, p. 371.

500 years ago Martin Luther was born again by the Spirit and the Word of the Gospel; he was set free from his self-loathing and trying to establish a righteousness of his own (Romans 10:3). What he taught so often after October 1517 was how to get outside of yourself; namely, beyond yourself and caught up into God, then beneath yourself or by downward mobility towards your neighbors.

My Congolese friends in Kinshasa teach me by faith to get beyond myself and caught up into God, and underneath my neighbor in love. Here is another example of getting over or outside yourself as a Christian:

Luther’s Larger Commentary on Galatians,

“And this is the reason why our theology is certain: it snatches us away from ourselves and places us outside ourselves, so that we do not depend on our own strength, conscience, experience, person, or works but depend on that which is outside ourselves, that is, on the promise and truth of God, which cannot deceive.”

#TheGospel

“Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God. But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.”

John Calvin in preface to 1534 French translation of the New Testament

Where are the Sweetest Spots?

“Sweet are the spots where Immanuel has ever shown his glorious power in the conviction and conversion of sinners. The world loves to muse on the scenes where battles were fought and victories won. Should we not love the spots where our great captain has won his amazing victories?” Robert Murray McCheyne

Some times we find ourselves in dreadful spots where despair and the sentence of death is all we may expect from looking at our circumstances. God is near to all who call upon His Name in Jesus, however, and He raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). He is our rescuer! God is glorified in rescuing us and changing dreadful spots into the sweetest spots in our stories. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAg7rn7fH3Q

This song makes me rejoice and exult in Christ, our Rescuer 🙂

Artwork by Will Coats

Identity in Christ

Identity in Christ

https://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Your-Identity-Christ-Renouncing-ebook/dp/B06XT2SSLM/ref=pd_ybh_a_19?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=KXNBA27SZ55AV2JXQQR6

Our identities, besides being one of the most precious things to protect from theft, crisis, or loss, are extremely important to God. The Father has given each of His children a personal identity in Christ that will shape them on their journey to heaven. If, in the process of identity formation, we ignore what God says concerning our identities, then we may expect confusion in the other three seasons of spiritual formation, from adolescence to old age (see chart below for Calling to Christ, Intentionality for Christ, and Legacy from Christ).

Robert Davis Smart

https://www.facebook.com/MyIdentityInChrist/

Embracing Your Identity in Christ:: Renouncing Lies and Foolish Strategies (Kindle Locations 116-121). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.

Practicing the Spiritual Act of Benedictions

What is a benediction? How do we give one?

The word benediction derives from two Latin words that mean, “to speak well of,” and people in every culture and generation look earnestly and intently for a final word of divine kindness from God through His ordained agents of blessings.

We long for our parent’s blessing before each of them dies. The last thing said in the Bible is a benediction. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22: 21). It is only fitting that our last words to others in life should be a benediction.

On the occasion of each of our grandchildren’s births, I speak down a rich and full blessing from on high upon grandson and granddaughter. Here I met James for the first time to bless his head.

Before you leave off just now, dear reader, please receive this one for you:

May you be lost in wonder, love, and praise, so that through every

period of your life His goodness you pursue, Until our Lord comes

again. And now to God’s elect, Whom He has upheld since they were

conceived, Carried since they were born, Hear His good promise;

“I am He; I will sustain you, I will carry you, I will rescue even to your

old age.”

 

 

This is an excerpt taken from Robert Davis Smart’s Legacy from Christ: What’s My Message? (Kindle Locations 461, 560-564). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.