December 9

 

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Matthew 5:11-12

 

If it’s impossible to receive God’s grace except through faith in Christ, Why does the Bible include so many passages about God rewarding people for the good things they’ve done?  These passages are intended to comfort Christians.  When you become a Christian, you will find forgiveness both for your past sins and for the ones you commit every day.  But you’ll have to work hard and suffer a lot as the result of your faith and baptism.  Jesus makes it clear that the devil, the world, and your sinful nature will attack you from every direction and make you feel hemmed in on all sides.

If you were left in this predicament without anything to comfort you, you would give up in despair and say, “Who wants to be a Christian, or speak about Christ, or do good works?  Look at what happens to Christians.  The world walks all over them, slanders and humiliates them.  It plays all kinds of cruel tricks on them.  In the end, they lose their honor, property, and lives.  Christ calls them helpless, sorrowful, hungry, meek, afflicted, and persecuted!  Is that all he can say?  Will this last forever and never change?”

At that point, Christ strengthens and comforts us by saying, “You are children of God.  He is going to take care of you.  Even though you have to suffer in the world now for being children of God, don’t let that suffering frighten you.  Don’t let what you experience tire you out or wear you down.  Every one of you must continue to do your duty.  This is painful, but it won’t do you any real harm.  The kingdom of heaven is yours, and you will be richly rewarded.”

Life of Luther

Barnas Sears, D.D.

 

An historic and comprehensive biography of early Christianity’s most influential leader of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther.

 

Controversial and visionary, Luther’s life is revealed in this rare presentation of his work as an educator and church leader. From his birth and childhood, to his religious education, and the events leading up to the Protestant Reformation, you will discover the views and experiences that led to his excommunication by the Pope in 1520. Correspondence and accounts shed further light on Luther’s defiant translation of the Bible from Latin to the language of the common man.

This unique biography is reproduced from an 1850 American Sunday School Union original, and in it you will be introduced to the pivotal life of this enigmatic man before, during, and after one of Christianity’s defining events.

 

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