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The Grace of God

December 11, 2018
By Martin Luther

Great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

PSALM 117:2

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The Grace of God

There are unusually fine words in this verse, words which we should not skim over coldly or without feeling. In the first place, the psalmist speaks of "His steadfast love." This is not our doing, holiness, or wisdom; it is His grace and mercy. What, then, is the grace of God? It is this, that from sheer mercy, for the sake of Christ, who is our beloved Bishop and Mediator, God forgives all our sins. He abates all His anger, leads us by faith from idolatry and error to truth. And the Holy Spirit purifies our hearts, enlightens, sanctifies, and justifies us, chooses us as children, and heirs, adorns us with His gifts, redeems and protects us from the power of the devil, and finally gives us eternal life and blessedness. And yet He also supplies this transitory life with everything needful, gives and preserves it, through the service and co-operation of all creatures of heaven and earth. The whole world could not deserve even the tiniest of these gifts, much less all of them, or even some of the greater ones. In fact, because of its idolatry, ingratitude, contempt, and continual manifold sinning it has deserved nothing but anger, death, and hell. If this is true—and it undeniably is—then it follows that our works, wisdom, and holiness are nothing before God. For if it is God's love, then it cannot be our merit. And if it is our merit, then it is not God's love (Romans 11:6).

From Commentary on Psalm 117 (Luther's Works 14:25)

December 11

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