2021 Advent Reading – Hope for the World: Advent with John Wesley

Day 15 Tuesday 21 December 2021

Faith in Christ. Trust him and him alone for our salvation.

Reflection: John Wesley was transformed inwardly on May 24th 1738 when he attended the Aldersgate society when the Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans was read out

Here is the summary of Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans:

  • This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel.
  • You satisfy the demands of the law with works, whether your heart is in it or not. God judges what is in the depths of the heart. Therefore his law also makes demands on the depths of the heart and doesn’t let the heart rest content in works;
  • Everyone finds inside himself an aversion to good and a craving for evil. Where there is no free desire for good, there the heart has not set itself on God’s law. There also sin is surely to be found and the deserved wrath of God, whether a lot of good works and an honorable life appear outwardly or not.
  • The works of the law are everything that a person does or can do of his own free will and by his own powers to obey the law. But because in doing such works the heart abhors the law and yet is forced to obey it, the works are a total loss and are completely useless.
  • But to fulfill the law means to do its work eagerly, lovingly and freely, without the constraint of the law; it means to live well and in a manner pleasing to God, as though there were no law or punishment.
  • It is the Holy Spirit, however, who puts such eagerness of unconstrained love into the heart.
  • That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law; faith it is that brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ. The Spirit, in turn, renders the heart glad and free, as the law demands. Then good works proceed from faith itself.
  • Faith is a work of God in us, which changes us and brings us to birth anew from God. It kills the old Adam, makes us completely different people in heart, mind, senses, and all our powers, and brings the Holy Spirit with it. What a living, creative, active powerful thing is faith! It is impossible that faith ever stop doing good. Faith doesn’t ask whether good works are to be done, but, before it is asked, it has done them. It is always active. Whoever doesn’t do such works is without faith; he gropes and searches about him for faith and good.

Application

May you receive during this season of Advent the greatest gift of all that is, Jesus Christ. Don’t ask how do I have this faith? Come to the manger, the place where our Lord Jesus is born and trust in him with all your heart, mind, strength and soul and He will work his power in you to bring you a birth anew. Faith doesn’t ask whether good works are to be done, but, before it is asked, it has done them. May all glory and honour be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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