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DEVOTION//Confidence, not judgment

DEVOTION//Confidence, not judgment

On July 4, Americans celebrate their national freedoms.

Christian freedom

Christians enjoy much greater freedoms. Freedom from sin, guilt, fear, addiction, loneliness, hell. The list continues.

But even though that freedom exists, we Christians don't always live in those freedoms. We choose sin. We embrace guilt. We fail to let go of addictions.

When we choose slavery over the freedom grace gives us, our conscience -- not to mention Satan -- torment us with our failures. We mourn, "How could a righteous God love us, forgive us, pronounce us not guilty?"

Luther on freedom

Luther provides us with assurance during those times our sins and shortcomings loom large.

For that love of God is so great that we are able to have confidence on the Day of Judgment, on which the whole world will tremble. Isaiah 28:16 says: “Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone, of a sure foundation.”  

Therefore, through the knowledge of this love we also have faith, so that we can pass muster at the judgment.

Thus Christ also warns by means of the parable of the fig tree in Luke 21:28. “Look up, and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

This is what the blood of love which was shed for us does—the blood which is more precious than all the merits and deaths of all the saints. But the fact that we do not consider this fittingly and do not treat of this blood in a manner that is sufficiently fitting, this is due to our very education, by which we have been brought up in various ways ever since our childhood to observe human traditions and inventions.

The devil knows this weakness of the flesh, namely, that we do not fittingly value the blood of Christ.

Therefore, if consciousness of a great sin weighs you down, comfort yourself with this blood of love. Surely the whole world does not grasp the tiniest syllable of the statement that God is love. No human religion can hold its own in the face of the judgment, but it is solely in the blood of Christ that we have confidence on the Day of Judgment.