“Even though we are now in faith, the heart is always ready to boast itself before God and say, ‘After all, I have… lived so well and done so much that surely He will take this into account.’ We… want to haggle with God to make Him regard our life, but it cannot be done. With men you may boast, ‘I have done the best I could… If anything is lacking, I will still try to make recompense,’ but when you come before God, leave all that boasting at home. Remember to appeal from justice into grace. But let anybody try this and he will see and experience how exceedingly hard and bitter a thing it is… I myself have been preaching and cultivating [grace] through reading and writing for almost twenty years and still feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something so that He will give me His grace in exchange for my holiness. I just cannot get it into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace, yet I know that this is what I should and must do.”
- Martin Luther
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