Reflections from Luther’s Sermons at Advent
“All your wealth and wit:” two things I attempt to give to the world every day. We’re all just trying to buy our way through life. Sometimes we use tangible goods, sometimes the gift of our personality and the great jokes we can make. Our worth always comes down to what we’ve got and what we can give and how much of both is accepted by society as “valuable.” Luther calls to the table this notion of purchasing value before God in his Advent sermon and reminds us that it is never man that arrives at God’s throne, except that God has arrived as our servant first.
“I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
He comes, comes unto you. Yea, verily, you go not to Him, neither do you fetch Him. He is too high for you, and too far away. All your wealth and wit, your toil and labor, will not bring you near Him, lest you pride yourself that your merit and worthiness have brought Him unto you. Dear friend, all your merit and worthiness are smitten down, and there is on your side nothing but sheer undeserving and unworthiness, and on His side is pure grace and mercy. Here come together humanity in our poverty and the Lord in His unsearchable riches.
Therefore learn here from the Gospel what happens when God begins to build us into the likeness of Him, and what is the beginning of saintliness. There is no other beginning than that your king comes unto you, and begins the work in you. You do not seek Him, He seeks you; you do not find Him, He finds you; your faith comes from Him, not from yourself, and where He does not come, you must stay outside; and where there is no Gospel, there is no God, but sheer sin and destruction. Therefore ask not where to begin a godly life; there is no beginning but where this king comes and is proclaimed.