In the masterful sermon he preached on January 1, 1532, entitled “The Distinction Between Law And Gospel,” Martin Luther made one comment, in particular, that provides sweet nourishment for my sometimes weary soul, and I pray it does the same for yours:
If the Law . . . accuses me of failing to do this or that, of being a law-breaker and a sinner in God’s record book of guilt, I have to confess that it is all true. But what it says after that, ‘Therefore you are condemned’–that I must not concede, but resist it with firm faith and say: ‘According to the Law, which reckons up my guilt, I am indeed a poor, condemned sinner. But I appeal from the Law to the Gospel; because God has given another word that is higher than the Law. That word is the Gospel, which gives us, as a free gift, God’s grace, the forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and life. It gives you pardon and absolution from your terrors and damnation; it assures me that all guilt has been paid for by the Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself.