In 1522, Luther published “A Brief Instruction on What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels.” Luther wrote:
The chief article and foundation of the gospel
is that before you take Christ as an example,
you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a
present that God has given you and that is
your own. This means that when you see or
hear of Christ doing or suffering something,
you do not doubt that Christ himself, with his
deeds and suffering, belongs to you. On this
you may depend as surely as if you had done
it yourself; indeed as if you were Christ
himself. See, this is what it means to have a
proper grasp of the gospel, that is, of the
overwhelming goodness of God, which
neither prophet, nor apostle, nor angel was
ever able fully to express, and which no heart
could adequately fathom or marvel at. This is
the great fire of the love of God for us,
whereby the heart and conscience become
happy, secure, and content. This is what
preaching the Christian faith means. This is
why such preaching is called gospel, which
in German means a joyful, good, and
comforting “message”; and this is why the
apostles are called the “twelve messengers.”
As we recognize God’s goodness for ourselves and in ourselves, the sharing of the “good news” of the Gospel becomes a thing of joy for
it brings hope, peace, love, justice, and forgiveness to us and to the world!
Let us not carry the heavy burden of our sins and the continual weight of hopelessness by daily striving to “foolishly” save ourselves, for we know the One who has said:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are
carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you
rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from
me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke
is easy, and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30
Let us believe and trust that God is good and that in Jesus Christ, God’s goodness extends personally to ourselves. Then let us daily strive to follow in Christ’s path, recognizing that our sins have been forgiven by his blood upon the cross. No further sacrifices are required.
During the month of October, and especially on Reformation Sunday, October 30, let us give thanks to God for Martin Luther, for all the men and women who led the Reformation, and for all saints who have lived a faithful life and been a blessing to us and to all who will come to believe in Jesus Christ long after we are gone.
God is good and the message of the Gospel is good news, indeed!
Much Joy to you and yours!