Luther’s "Christian Guide for Each Day"

22 July

There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, namely Satan’s messenger, who hit me with fists, so that I did not become arrogant. 2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul, I notice, will indeed be among one of the greatest saints, likewise also the Prophet David. But when they came upon the highest point, they couldn’t be sure about the idol of work righteousness which they had before their eyes, as they themselves lament. Because Paul freely confesses that God had to send to him from hell a messenger of Satan, who pierced him and quite probably hurt him, solely so that he did not feel proud over the huge enlightenment, like as if he as a result of this enlightenment would be regarded as being better and holier before God. Behold, the noble man in spirit and faith might fall into such pride that he might tickle himself and come before God with his own holiness, and with such register: So much have I accomplished, suffered, preached, so many have I converted, etc., that there was no advice as to how to fight the misery, so that he finally had to have a devil around his neck who scourged him to the point where he had to confess as to what it was, that it was by sheer grace, not on account of any works or merits. 

The verse above has been a reminder for me to keep on struggling through these translations via God’s all-sufficient grace. The fact that amidst my ‘thorn in the flesh’ I was able to translate this one – however sloppily – get’s chalked up to: sola gratia, grace alone!

In the Name of Jesus,

Elmer H.


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