Treasure the Blessing
"Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
Treasure the Blessing
Let us enjoy the blessing we now have and the grace that is offered after the light of the Gospel has reappeared, and let us not be indifferent or ungrateful. For once the blessing has been taken away, it is not in our power to recover it; it can be recovered only by reason of a free gift of God, and in such a way that He is influenced by no one's tears, cries, and exertions. First I saw this well, namely, that the free gift is absolutely necessary for obtaining the light and the heavenly life, and I worked anxiously and diligently to understand the well-known statement in Romans 1:17: "The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel." Then I sought and knocked for a long time (cf. Matthew 7:7), for that expression "the righteousness of God" stood in the way. It was commonly explained by saying that the righteousness of God is the power of God by which God Himself is formally righteous and condemns sinners. This is the way all teachers except Augustine had interpreted this passage: the righteousness of God, that is, the wrath of God. But every time I read this passage, I always wished that God had never revealed the Gospel—for who could love a God who is angry, judges, and condemns?—until finally, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, I weighed more carefully the passage in Habakkuk (2:4), where I read: "The righteous shall live by his faith." From this I concluded that life must come from faith. In this way I related the abstract to the concrete, and all Holy Scripture and heaven itself were opened to me. At this time, however we see that great light very clearly, and we may enjoy it richly. But we despise and disdain this jewel and heavenly treasure. Accordingly, if one day it should be taken away again, we shall cry and knock once more, as Christ says about the foolish virgins in the parable (cf. Matthew 25:11). But we shall cry and knock in vain. Therefore let us fear God and be grateful. Above all, however, my own example and the example of others should move you. We lived in death and hell and did not have the blessing so abundantly as you have it. Therefore occupy yourselves diligently with the doctrine of the blessing, and think about it, in order that you may be able to keep it yourselves and also to make it known to others.