Saturday, March 30, 2024

The “Harrowing of Hell” - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 40 - Purity 1313

The “Harrowing of Hell” - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 40 - Purity 1313

Purity 1313 03/30/2024 Purity 1313 Podcast

Purity 1313 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of blue skies and a fireball sun over Waite Rd in Easton, which features my canine pal, Harley, leading the way, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this hazy scene yesterday as blustery winds whipped all around us on the way back home from a short late afternoon walk.  Despite the unseen opposition that seems to have distorted this photo, we made it back down that last stretch home.

Well, It’s Holy Saturday – the day that commemorates the “Harrowing of Hell” while Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. While in the physical Jesus’s body lay still and lifeless in the tomb, in the spirit, Jesus descended into hell and brought salvation to the souls held captive there since the beginning of the world. The Apostle’s Creed tells us that Jesus “descended into hell” and

1 Peter 4:6 (NKJV) alludes to this ministry of Christ, as Peter tells us:
6  For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.

While it may seem that those dead before Jesus’ earthly ministry may have gotten a “second chance”, I’m sharing insights I gleaned from a Got article that helps us to understand how salvation worked before Jesus and how ( the Bible indicates that the requirement for salvation has always been faith and the object of one’s faith has always been God. What has changed through the ages is the content of a believer’s faith. God’s requirement of what must be believed is based on the amount of revelation He has given mankind up to that time.  This is called progressive revelation.

The best first case for this is the first man, Adam. Adam obviously had first-hand knowledge of God – as he walked and talked with Him in the garden, but after he sinned – Adam believed in the promise of Jesus to be saved. Say what?  That’s right. 

“Adam believed the promise God gave in Genesis 3:15 that the Seed of the woman would conquer Satan. Adam believed Him, demonstrated by the name he gave Eve (v. 20)” – the mother of all living (in Christ- her Seed – and all who would have faith in God and in the coming the Messiah )-  “and the Lord indicated His acceptance immediately by covering them with coats of skin (v. 21). At that point that is all Adam knew, but he believed it.”


Genesis 15:6 (NKJV) tells us that Abraham
6  … believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

So we are all saved by faith in God, the only difference between way back then was in how one came to know and have faith in the One true God.  

So Jesus went to hell to bring the progressive revelation of Him, specifically as the promised Messiah and deliverer, and He set the faithful captives free from the “Abraham’s bosom” section of Hell – which was the temporary holding place for those who had faith in God until Christ came to bring them to heaven, where the Old and New Testament Saints are waiting with Christ until His triumphant return to reclaim the earth!  

So while it is possible that some of the dead may have been given the grace of a second chance, its more likely that Jesus merely gave the good news of His coming to the one’s who already believed in God because if we don’t want anything to do with God while we live its unlikely that we will change our minds after we die.

Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus indicates how the hard hearts of man who don’t believe are beyond convincing and repentance, as Jesus’ account relayed how Abraham said to the rich man, who was pleading for his unsaved brothers to be warned, in

Luke 16:31 (NKJV) that
31  … 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "

And we know who Abraham was talking about there, right?  Jesus – the one who would rise from the dead.  And unfortunately even today, we see the truth of Jesus’ account as many refuse to believe in Him despite all the evidence of His life, death, and resurrection.  

But we know, don’t we? Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and God the Son! 

We have made it to the last day of Lent  And Christians everywhere will tomorrow – on Resurrection Sunday – or Easter - that Christ is risen – Christ is risen indeed!  

But before we get there – let’s walk out this last day of lent by remembering how while all seemed to be lost, Jesus was alive and well in the spirit realm rescuing those who had put their faith in God, even though they didn’t have the revelation of Him that we do.

It’s the last and fortieth day of Lent and so we will conclude my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it was our hope that we got to know Martin Luther a little better as we sought to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.   We are there tomorrow but as for today, we continue and conclude with:

Journey Day 40

It was not unintended to God's particular ordering of things that a lowly Christian person who might be unable to read the Bible should nevertheless be obligated to learn and know the Ten Commandments, the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Indeed, the total content of Scripture and preaching and everything a Christian needs to know is quite fully and adequately comprehended in these three items... Three things a person must know in order to be saved. First, he must know what to do and what to leave undone. Second, when he realized that he cannot measure up to what he should do or leave undone, he needs to know where to go to find the strength he requires. Third, he must know how to seek and obtain the strength.

Biblical Wisdom

At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Luke 10: 21.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       Why do you suppose that the things necessary for salvation are so simple and easily understood? Where does a person go to learn these simple things?

The things necessary for salvation are so simple and easily understood because God loves us. He wants us to know Him and it is not really a matter of the mind or one’s intellectual capacity that we are saved. It’s a matter of the heart and not resisting the knowledge of the One greater than us – Our Heavenly Father who is calling us home. We learn these simple things in His word and in houses of worship that share and teach its truth.

·       Jesus is thankful these things are revealed to the babes, not the wise and prudent. Why do you think that is?

I think that Jesus is glad that the Father reveals this to babes and not the “wise” because the gospel of grace is not about performance – or having special knowledge to be approved by God. It’s about having faith in God and there are no special abilities or works required to receive God’s gift of grace.

·       At the same time, these things are so deep even the brilliant Luther said he did not understand them. Why?

God is infinite and mysterious- His ways are higher than our ways and He invites us to seek Him and to know the depths of His wisdom and love.

Psalm Fragment

Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Give praise, O servants of the Lord, you that stand in the House of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for he is gracious. Psalm 135:1-3.

Journal Reflections

·       Write down the three things Luther says you have to know and reflect on how much more deeply you understand them now after these 40 days.

To recap Luther said: we must know

1.    What to do and what to leave undone.

2.    Second, when we realize that we cannot measure up to what we should do or leave undone, we need to know where to go to find the strength we require.

3.    Third, we must know how to seek and obtain the strength.

All of these things point to God and receiving from Him. The smaller catechism that was unpacked the truths contained in the Ten Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, over these 40 Days with Martin Luther, has helped us to understand how our knowing what to do and how to receive God’s strength to do it or to leave it undone comes from.  Luther’s teaching of these things helps us to have a close relationship with the Lord.

·       Luther saw knowing the Commandments, Creed, and Lord's Prayer as an obligation for all Christians. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

The term obligation is a little loaded. When we look at any aspect of our faith as an obligation, we can wander into legalism but after reading Luther’s teachings over this 40 Day Journey, I understand that Luther’s heart was only to impress upon us the sense of closeness that we have to the Lord and to honor Him by knowing at least these few things – in order to know Him accurately and intimately and to be able to share the knowledge of Him with others, intelligently.

·       Have you made the Catechism part of your daily devotions? If you have, what difference has it made in your daily life?

I have not. We all determine the way we follow the Lord individually and while you could be blessed by reading the catechism as a daily devotional, there is the Word of God itself – the Bible and many other teachings based on its wisdom that one can be blessed by too.  Reading through the catechism as presented in this 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther has blessed us.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Thank God for the time you have spent learning from Martin Luther about the life of the Christian, what you should know and how you should pray.

Thank You Lord, for the time we have spent over these 40 Days of Lent learning from our brother, Martin Luther, about the Chrisitan life and what we should know and how we should pray. We have been blessed by it. Thank You. Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear Heavenly Father, I am overflowing with thanksgiving to you, for revealing to me so much of yourself and your son Jesus, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your faithful servant Martin Luther and what he taught me now.


(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).


For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. ( )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)
13  The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
14  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Today’s verses are the first of two passages of scripture that fall under the twenty-fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

24. The primary goal in life must be to fear God and keep his commandments.

Today’s verses summarize the wisdom of all the book of Ecclesiastes’ ponderings – that we are to fear the Lord and keep His commandments.  

Fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom – but it is only the beginning. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to how we live.  Really knowing God necessitates that we obey His commandments.  To truly understand Him is to embrace His instruction and to perform it.  So let go of selfish or foolish ideas that would convince you that you know better than God or that you can somehow dismiss what He tells us to do and recognize His supreme wisdom and surrender to its commands on your life – to be righteous, faithful, and to live.


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.


“I do not receive honor from men.” – John 5:41

The Lord Jesus spoke these words to men who were bent on slaying Him. They were the Pharisees and Scribes who honored one another rather than God (v. 44). Even when they did appear to honor God, it was only mere lip-service; their hearts were far from Him. These men were hypocrites and lived criticizing others. If Christ therefore received honor from such, surely it would appear that He were condoning their hypocrisy and evil. On the other hand, the statement of the Lord Jesus in the above verse condemned rather than condoned the evil works of these Pharisees.

If my blessed Lord did not receive honor from men, how will I ever expect to receive honor from those who live to criticize?

Give me, O Lord, the Spirit of Grace.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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