Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! We get to go back to church again! Here are great words from Martin Luther, taken from his excellent Preface to his amazing "Galatians" Commentary. . . .
"Therefore, the afflicted and troubled conscience has no remedy against desperation and eternal death unless it takes hold of the for-giveness of sins by grace, freely offered in Christ Jesus—that is to say, this passive faith or Christian righteousness. If the conscience can take hold of this, then it may be at rest and boldly say, 'I do not seek this active or working righteousness, although I know that I ought to have it, and also to fulfill it. But if I had it and did actually fulfill it, I still could not place my trust in it, nor should I dare to set it against God's judgment. Thus I abandon all active righteousness, both of my own and of God's law, and embrace only that passive righteousness that is the righteousness of grace, mercy, and forgiveness of sins. Briefly, I rest only on that righteousness that is the righteousness that is the righteousness of Christ and of the Holy Spirit.'
"Just as the earth does not generate rain and cannot of itself work to produce it, but receives it by the mere gift of God from above, so this heavenly righteousness is given us by God without our working for or deserving it. See, then, how much the earth is able by itself to do in getting showers of rain to make it fruitful; that much, and no more, are we able to do by our own strength and works in winning this heavenly and eternal righteousness. We shall never be able to attain it unless God Himself bestows it on us, imputing it to us by His gift be-yond words. The greatest wisdom of Christians, then, is to have no-thing to do with the law and works and the whole of active right-eousness, especially when the conscience wrestles with God's judg-ment. On the other hand, the quintessence of wisdom among those who are not among God's people is to know and earnestly follow the law and active righteousness."