Wahoo--it's almost Sunday again. We *get* to go back to church! In or-der to help us get ready, here is Martin Luther, from his incredible preface to his outstanding commentary on "Galatians." . . .
"Therefore, St. Paul, in this letter, teaches us in order to comfort us and to confirm us in the perfect knowledge of this most Christian and excellent righteousness--for once we lose our belief in justification, all true Christian doctrine is lost. There is no middle ground between the righteousness of the law and Christian righteousness. Anyone who strays from Christian righteousness must fall into the righteousness of the law; in other words, when people lose Christ, they slip back into reliance on their own works.
"That is why we so earnestly repeat this doctrine of faith or Christian righteousness, so that it may be continually exercised and may be plainly distinguished from the active righteousness of the law. Other-
wise we should never be able to believe the true theology. The church is founded on, and consists in, this doctrine alone. So if we want to teach and lead other people, we need to pay careful attention to these matters and to note well this distinction between the righteous-ness of the law and the righteousness of Christ. This is easy to de-scribe in words but hard to put into practice, for when we are near death or in other agonies of conscience these two sorts of righteous-ness come closer together than we would wish. So I warn you, espe-cially those of you who will become teachers and guides of conscienc-es, to exercise yourselves continually by study, reading, meditation on the Word, and prayer, so that in time of temptation you may be able to instruct and strengthen both your own conscience and that of other people, and to bring them from the law to grace, from active and working righteousness to passive and received righteousness, from Moses to Christ."