Martin Luther’s Christmas Day Sermon 1530

“In my sin, my death, I must take leave of all created things.  No, sun, moon, stars, all creatures, physicians, emperors, kings, wise men and potentates cannot help me.

When I die I shall see nothing but black darkness, and yet that light, “To you is born this day a Savior” [Luke 2:11], remains in my eyes and fills all of heaven and earth.

The Savior will help me when all have forsaken me…

If you can say: The Son, who is proclaimed to be a Lord and Savior; and if you can confirm the message of the angel and say yes to it and believe it in your heart, then your heart will be filled with assurance and joy and confidence, and you will not worry much about even the costliest and best that this world has to offer…

If it is true that the child was born of the virgin and is mine, then I have no angry God and I must know and feel that there is nothing but laughter and joy in the heart of the Father and no sadness in my heart.

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Our Faith Begins…

lamentation

Our faith begins at the point where atheists suppose that it must be at an end.

Our faith begins with the bleakness and power which is the night of the cross, abandonment, temptation, and doubt about everything that exists!  Our faith must be born where it is abandoned by all tangible reality; it must be born of nothingness, it must taste this nothingness and be given it to taste in a way that no philosophy of nihilism can imagine.”

H. J. Iwand quoted in Christian Wiman’s “My Bright Abyss” & Jurgen Moltmann’s “The Crucified God.”

Luther on Psalm 51:1

Just last week I finished Luther’s “Selections from the Psalms” and  felt compelled to share his thoughts on Psalm 51.  If you’ve been following this blog for some time you’ll know that I did the same for Luther’s thoughts on Psalm 23 as well.  Without further ado here’s Luther’s take on verse 1 of this beautiful Psalm.

Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”

Continue reading

Taking a Break from the Blog

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Because I will be packing up and moving in the next couple weeks (I’ve accepted a call to be Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sarver, PA.  See pic), this will be my last post until sometime in August.  Hope you enjoy!

“A man can with confidence boast in Christ and say: ‘Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, his suffering and dying, mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, suffered, and died as he did…’  Everything which Christ has is ours, graciously bestowed on us unworthy men out of God’s sheer mercy, although we have rather deserved wrath and condemnation, and hell also…  Through faith in Christ… [his] righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that he has become ours; rather, he himself becomes ours…  This is an infinite righteousness, and one that swallows up all sins in a moment, for it is impossible that sin should exist in Christ.”

Martin Luther “Two Kinds of Righteousness

Keller on Idolatry and Gospel Preaching

“So if the root of every sin is idolatry, and idolatry is a failure to look to Jesus for our salvation and justification, then the root of every sin is a failure to believe the gospel message that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is our justification, righteousness, and redemption…

Our failures in actual righteousness… generally come from a failure to rejoice in our legal righteousness in Christ.  Our failures in sanctification come mainly from a lack of orientation to our justification.  We will never change unless we come to grips with the particular, characteristic ways our hearts resist the gospel and continue their self-salvation projects through idolatry. Continue reading

Rock Bottom with Gerhard Forde

“Theologians of the cross… operate on the assumption that there must be–to use the language of treatment for addicts–a ‘bottoming out’ or an ‘intervention.’  That is to say, there is no cure for the addict on his own.  In theological terms, we must come to confess that we are addicted to sin, addicted to self, whatever form that may take, pious or impious.  So theologians of the cross know that we can’t be helped by optimistic appeals to glory, strength, wisdom, positive thinking, and so forth because those things are themselves the problem…  The cross does the ‘bottoming out.’  The cross does the ‘intervention.’  The addict/sinner is not coddled by false optimism but is put to death so that a new life can begin.”

Gerhard Forde “On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518

Martin Luther “Heidelberg Disputation

The Gospel in Suffering

“The good news of the gospel [for sufferers] is not an exhortation from above to ‘hang on at all costs,’ or ‘grin and bear it’ in the midst of hardship.  No, the good news is that God is hanging on to you, and in the end, when all is said and done, the power of God will triumph over every pain and loss.”

Tullian Tchividjian “Glorious Ruin

PS: Sorry couldn’t resist the Dawson’s Creek crying gif for this one…