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A Good Defense


Despite their best effort and a few great plays against Northwestern Saturday, the Huskers racked up another loss. I’m no sports analyst, but the Huskers’ outlook seems bleak this year, struggling on both sides of the ball with a quarterback prone to throwing interceptions. I remember the days when our defense was a force to be reckoned with, intimidating every team in the nation. Now our defense intimidates no one. Like a championship football team, the Gospel’s place in our hearts requires a strong defense.

Even Martin Luther, one of the greatest defenders of the faith, confessed in his commentary on Galatians: “Although I am a doctor of divinity, and have preached Christ and fought His battles for a long time, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to hold fast to the truth.” Out hearts, like the Galatians after receiving and rejoicing over the message of the Gospel, soon give up yardage to the flesh, convinced that we must perform or accomplish great acts of service to earn God’s approval. Luther continues, “All believers experience this difficulty. They would gladly embrace the Word with a full faith, but the flesh deters them. You see, our reason always thinks it is too easy and cheap to have righteousness, the Holy Spirit, and life everlasting by the mere hearing of the Gospel.”

The apostle Paul addresses our defensive struggle in his description of the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. A linebacker, just like a soldier, is fully equipped with a helmet, shoulder pads, cleats, and everything else he needs. Over and over in this passage Paul exhorts us to “stand firm”, “hold your ground”, and “resist” our opponent. Paul would have made a great defensive coordinator! Far too often, like the Huskers, our defense is sloppy. Our opponent comes at us with a lot of different formations. The flesh runs at us up the middle and around the end. We can’t defend the screen or the long ball, and play-action throws us off our game.

Paul exhorts us again in a similar fashion in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” In his commentary Luther writes, “Our conscience must be trained to fall back on the freedom purchased for us by Christ. Though the fears of the Law, the terrors of sin, the horror of death assail us occasionally, we know that these feelings shall not endure, because the prophet quotes God as saying: ‘In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment: but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.’ (Isa. 54:8.)” Don’t be intimidated by the schemes and tricks of our opponent but rather stand firm in the victory that is ours in the Gospel of Christ Jesus!

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 5th, 2017 at 1:47 pm and is filed under Theology & Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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