August 22

And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.  Jonah 1:9-10

From the story of Jonah, we learn how to free ourselves from all anxiety and fear.  Above all, we should confess our sin.  Openly acknowledging our sin decreases the immediate danger and lessens our anxiety.  Our hearts must be helped first.  Confessing sin makes our hearts lighter and allows them to breathe.  Then we can find help for the rest of our bodies.  Only after our consciences have been released from their heavy load and are able to breathe freely can we find relief for other areas of distress.

When God’s anger is poured out, we immediately become aware of our sin and become afraid.  Foolish people cope with this situation the wrong way.  They ignore their sin and only try to get rid of their fear.  That doesn’t work, so they eventually fall into despair.  This is the way human reason always tries to handle the problem in the absence of God’s grace and the Spirit.  Wise people, however, try to ignore their fear and focus instead on their sin.  They acknowledge their sin and try to get rid of it, even if it means that their fear will remain with them forever.  They willingly accept their punishment, as Jonah did in his story.

But godless people do just the opposite.  They pay attention to the punishment and are afraid of it, but they aren’t concerned about their sin.  If there were no punishment, they would never stop sinning.  But this isn’t what happens, because punishment consistently follows sin.  In contrast, godly people pay attention to their sin and are afraid of it.  They aren’t as concerned about the punishment.  In fact, it’s almost as if they would rather endure the punishment without sinning than commit the sin without facing any punishment.

Martin Luther: Bondage of the Will

The Bondage of the Will, Luther’s exposition on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, laid the groundwork for Reformation thought. It shows us a humbling view of ourselves while strengthening our faith in Christ.

The Ambassador Classics series brings the greatest classic works of Christian history into a single set. It includes unabridged works by Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Calvin, A. T. Pierson, John Owens, C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, J. C. Ryle, R. A. Torrey and many others. This series will continue to enrich and deepen your faith in Christ.

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