Tumbling in the Sand
In these texts we hear some ideas and hopes and dreams that are very counter to our understanding of the world: texts that lift up power as humility and peacefulness, texts that suggest that God’s wisdom is not meant for the wise, texts that suggest that it is not all about us at all, but about God’s graciousness. And there were so many places to start, that I kind of felt overwhelmed, so I thought listening to someone else might be good. Luther’s writing on almost anything is good, but Luther’s commentary on Romans is really quite fine (though gender inclusivity seems to have been foreign not only to the late 15th century theologian, but to his far more modern-day translator as well).
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”- Romans 7:15, 25a
Some words from Luther from his Commentary on Romans:
“This is the clearest passage of all, and from it we learn that one and the same (believing) person serves at the same time the Law of God and the Law of sin. [They are] at the same time justified and yet a sinner (simul iustus est et peccat); for he [that is Paul] does not say: “My mind serves the Law of God”; nor does he say; “My flesh serves the Law of sin”; but he says: “I myself.” That is the whole person, one and the same person, is in this twofold servitude. For this reason he thanks God that [they serve] the Law of God and [they plead] for mercy for serving the Law of sin. But no one can say of a carnal (that is unconverted) person that [they serve] the Law of God. The Apostle means to say: You see, it is just so as I said before: The saints (believers) are at the same time sinners while they are righteous. They are righteous, because they believe in Christ, whose righteousness covers them and is imputed to them. But they are sinners, inasmuch as they do not fulfill the Law, and still have sinful lusts. They are like sick people who are being treated by a physician. They are really sick, but hope and are beginning to get, or be made, well. They are about to regain their health. Such patients would suffer the greatest harm by arrogantly claiming to be well, for they would suffer a relapse that is worse (than their first illness).”
How are you trying to make yourself well rather than trusting the great physician who is healing (salve-ing) us through God’s own love and grace? How would trying to make yourself well make you sicker? What is God doing in your life to care for you?