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God’s Word and God’s People

April 24, 2014 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

In 1539 Martin Luther wrote, “God’s Word cannot be without God’s people, and conversely, God’s people cannot be without God’s Word.” It is a beautiful statement. It is a profound statement. And it is a convicting statement. It is beautiful because it is well put. It is profound because it affirms the biblical truth that God’s Word creates God’s people. Faith comes by hearing, as Paul says in Romans 10:17. Where God so sovereignly and effectually sends his Word in to the hearts of hearers, he gives new life and creates a people for himself. In other words, God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Luther’s statement is also a convicting statement because God’s people cannot go without his Word, they positively long to hear their God speak to them.

We know why the latter portion of Luther’s statement is convicting. It is convicting because too often we go on in this life as though we can be without God’s Word. We know the truth though, don’t we? We know we need God’s Word. Man cannot live by bread alone (Deuteronomy 8:3). We know we’re hungry, but we work through the lunch hour. We ignore our hunger, and say to ourselves that we can eat later, because what is presently before us is really most important. It is really not, and even here, God is gracious to us in our foolishness. Though we may live throughout the week as though we don’t need to hear from him and feast upon his Word, he gathers us week in and week out to hear from him and so he feeds us the bread that we really need. This is why he positively commands us to gather to meet with his people (Hebrews 10:25). We tend not to think of God’s commands as gracious, but the truth is, they are. Praise God that they are.

So, how do we cultivate our hunger for his Word? It is not by starving and eating later, but by answering the daily call of hunger. It is by a steady diet of tasting and seeing that he is indeed good that our hunger will grow. In the meantime, we should continue to gather at the banquet table that he has prepared for us each Lord’s Day, for he will use that to cultivate our longing for food throughout the week too. May the Lord be pleased to satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness.

[Martin Luther, “On Councils and the Church” trans. Charles M. Jacobs, Luther’s Works, vol. 41 (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1966), p.150]

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