May 21

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

If grace or faith is not preached, then no one will be saved, for faith alone justifies and saves.  On the other hand if faith is preached as it should be preached, then the majority of people understand this teaching about faith in a worldly way.  They turn the freedom of the Spirit into the freedom of the sinful nature.  One can see this today in all classes, whether higher or lower.  All boast that they are evangelical and praise Christian freedom. Meanwhile, they follow their own desires, turning to greed, lust, pride, envy, and so on.  No one faithfully carries out his or her duty.  No one serves others in love.  This shameful behavior makes me so impatient that I often wish that such pigs who trample the pearls with their feet were still under the tyranny of Rome.  It’s practically impossible for these people of Gomorrah to be ruled by the gospel of peace.

We know that the devil hounds those of us who have God’s Word. For he holds everyone else captive and is eager to take away this freedom of the Spirit or at least to turn it into unrestrained living.  Christ acquired this freedom of the Spirit for us through his death.  Therefore, we follow Paul’s example by teaching and encouraging people that this freedom of the Spirit gives them an opportunity to serve, not an opportunity to act on their evil desires.  As Peter says, “Live as free men, but so not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).

Martin Luther’s Here I Stand (Audio CD)

In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history, that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.

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