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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of March 9, 2020

Your contribution to salvation is sin and resistance.

Martin Luther was once asked what we contribute to salvation. He famously replied, "Sin and resistance."

Had the Apostle Paul been asked this question, he would have replied with a similar answer. In Romans 3, Paul gives a beautiful explanation of the gospel, beginning with a fatal diagnosis of humanity: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one (v. 10-12).

To be clear, it's not that we were born neutral and then became sinners by making sinful choices. Rather, we were born into sin; at birth our very nature was sin. The psalmist laments that he was sinful even before he was born: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). In other words, before we did anything, we were sinful because sin is our nature—sinful is who we are.

Being sinful at birth means we are spiritually dead at birth because sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). And dead people cannot make themselves alive. You contributed nothing to your physical birth (you can thank your mother and father for your physical birth!) and you cannot contribute anything to your spiritual birth.

But don't we need to put our faith in Christ in order to be saved? Absolutely! But even faith in Christ is a gift from God. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Notice that faith is "not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." And if that weren't clear enough, Paul reinforces his point by saying that your salvation is "not by works" (i.e., not by anything you accomplished) because if it were then you could boast. But, since God does everything to bring about your salvation, you cannot boast (c.f. Romans 3:27).

You were dead, but God made you alive. He saved you. The only thing you contributed was sin and resistance.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.

Obviously, we have no way of knowing what our future will be; however, as Christians, we know the one who knows--God.

We should not worry about the future, because our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15). In other words, God will give you what you need when you need it.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Jesus repeatedly tells us not to worry: "Do not worry about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:34).

Again, Jesus emphasized that God loves and cares for us, and we therefore should not worry about our life: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:25-27).

Although you don't know what God has in store for you, be assured that He has a good plan for your life (see Romans 8:28). Because He has such a good plan for you, there is no need to worry about life. Although you don't know what tomorrow holds, you have the opportunity to know the one who holds tomorrow!

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