Martin Luther and the Inauguration

On this historic day (as is every other day that transpires), I think that words from a man who undoubtedly altered the course of Western civilization are appropriate.

No, I do not refer to our current president, Barack Obama, but rather to a foul-mouthed, hard-headed, recovering monk, one Martin Luther (1483-1546, below).

martin-luther

It can be safely said that Luther can be grouped with Paul in the category of men “who have upset the world.”

Luther’s commentary of Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a classic which I am currently reading and enjoying immensely. Not coincidentally, I read these words today:

In matters of politics, God wishes us to honor and respect those outward veils or persons as His instruments by whom He governs and preserves the world.

But when the question concerns religion, conscience, the fear of God, faith, and the service of God, we must not fear these outward persons; we must not put our trust in them or look for comfort from them or hope for deliverance from them, either physically or spiritually.

I should neither fear nor trust the judge but God alone, who is the true judge.

Yes, as followers of Christ we are commanded to pray for our leaders, but this in no way gives us leeway to descend into a mindless and idolatrous treatment of our political leaders.

Exhibit A comes from someone who commented on today’s events as described in a story from the Daily Mail,

Today’s momentous occasion is a time for celebration for all world citizens. It perhaps marks the rights of passage into a more tolerant and mature phase in humanity and highlights further evolution of our species into a less barbaric and hopefully more egalitarian society.

Exhibit B can be seen in stories like this one.

So, pray and pray hard for President Obama (see Dr. Mohler’s prayer), but let us not fool ourselves into thinking that perhaps today’s inauguration wasn’t complete because of the absence of a donkey, her colt, palm branches and the crowds laying down their coats before the presidential limo.

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Self-Righteousness: A Pillar of Unbelief

Often the charge is levied at religious people (in America it’s Christians since it is, on the surface, the prevalent faith) that they are self-righteous prigs who like nothing better than to impose their morality on everyone else and sapping the “fun” of out of everything. Sometimes the accusation is justified albeit for the wrong reasons.

It’s somewhat comical to watch religious people lob this label on one another. Among Christians much of this brotherly bickering could be curtailed with a cursory look at Romans 14, but I digress.

Currently reading Gene Edward Veith’s, “Loving God with All Your Mind” and are finding it to be a stimulating read.

In one of the chapters he talks about self-righteousness and the way he explains it shed some light on the fact that this disease is not limited to religious folk.

Veith writes,

The most dangerous illusion of them all is self-righteousness. This is the true barrier to Jesus Christ. All rejection of God’s grace takes this form. Those who refuse the free forgiveness of God through Christ do so because they do not see themselves as needing that forgiveness. They do no admit that they are sinners. They deny that they are desperately lost.

God’s Law in its purity works not only to shape society and to show us how we are to live, but also reveals our sinfulness and awakens in us our need of a Savior (Romans 7, Galatians 3).

And yet we try to convince ourselves, even in the midst of our sins, that we are basically good, in fact better than most people. We justify ourselves, and in our complacency and self-sufficient pride we shut out the grace of God.