Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fearful fantasies

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

"It is an easy matter for a man to speak these words: 'Freedom from the wrath of God, sin, death, etc.' But in the time of temptation, in the agony of conscience, to apply them to himself in practice and to feel the excellency of this liberty and its fruit is a harder matter than can be expressed.

Therefore our conscience must be instructed and prepared ahead of time, so that when we feel the accusation of the law, the terrors of sin, the horror of death and the wrath of God, we may remove these heavy sights and fearful fantasies out of our minds and set in their place the freedom purchased by Christ, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, life and the everlasting mercy of God. And although the opposite feelings are very strong, let us assure ourselves that it will not long endure. . . . If our freedom could be apprehended with a sure and steadfast faith, then no rage or terror of the world, of the law, sin, death or the devil could be so great but it would soon be swallowed up as a little drop of water is swallowed by the sea. . . . Let us learn, therefore, to magnify this freedom of ours, which no emperor, no prophet or patriarch, nor any angel from heaven has obtained for us, but Jesus Christ the Son of God."

Martin Luther, commenting on Galatians 5:1