Saturday, October 13, 2018
OUR LUTHERAN HERITAGE
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength . . .
Some scholars suggest that Luther's favorite psalm was Psalm 46, which begins with these words: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the depths of the sea. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalm 46:1, 2, 7).
In times of trial these words of comfort and strength refreshed and encouraged Luther in his stand for the truth of God's Word. Based upon these words, Luther wrote the battle-hymn of the Reformation, "A Mighty Fortress is our God."
What we see in Luther is the courage of Christian conviction. He did not look to personal strength to stand up for the truth before the powers of this dark world. He looked to the God of his salvation which had brought to Luther the very righteousness of Christ. Luther knew the God of Jacob as his own refuge and strength.
What we see in Luther is the power of the Word, active and alive. The courage of Luther's convictions came by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that works in our hearts through that same Gospel of God's free love and forgiveness in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To stand for the truth, to take a stand for doctrine, is again in our time thought of as an odd and troublesome thing. Confessional Lutherans are frequently perceived as troublemakers, disturbing the peace in both the religious community as well as in the community as a whole. Pressure is brought to bear for us to recant, to withdraw our convictions.
May we be blessed as Luther was with the courage of our convictions. May our consciences continue to be bound by the Word of God. May our strength of faith and courage of conviction not be found in self, but in the gracious power of the Gospel--in knowing that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
This is our Lutheran heritage.
-- From the "Lutheran Spokesman"