alien righteousness

Why We Love Martin Luther

Peter typed this up and emailed to me.  It’s worth the read.  I will get the page number and chapter of Galatians that Luther was exegeting shortly.

Luther’s commentary Galatians:

Now, the truth of the gospel is, that our righteousness cometh by faith alone, without the works of the law. The corruption, or falsehood of the gospel is, that we are justified by faith, but not without the works of the law. With the like condition the false apostles also preached the gospel. Even so do our Papists at this day. For they say, that we must believe in Christ, and that faith is the foundation of our salvation: but it justifieth not, except it be furnished with charity. This is not the truth of the gospel, but falsehood and dissimulation. But the true gospel deed is, that the works of charity are not the ornament or perfection of faith: but that faith of itself is God’s gift, and God’s work in our hearts, which therefore justifieth us, because it apprehendeth Christ our Redeemer. Man’s reason hath the law for his object, thus thinking with itself: this I have done, this I have not done. But faith being in her own proper office, hath no other object but Jesus Christ the Son of God, delivered to death for the sins of the whole world. It looketh not to charity; it saith not: what have I done? what have 1 offended ? what have I deserved ? but, what hath Christ done ? what hath he deserved? Here the truth of the gospel answereth thee: he hath redeemed thee from thy sin, from the devil, and from eternal death.—Faith therefore acknowledgeth that in this one person, Jesus Christ, it hath forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He that turneth his eyes away from this object, hath no true faith, but a fantasy and a vain opinion, and turneth his eyes from the promise to the law, which terrifieth and driveth to desperation.

Now, Christ is the Lord of the scripture and of all works. He also is Lord of heaven, the earth, the sabbath, the temple, righteousness, life, wrath, sin, death, and generally of all things whatsoever. And Paul his apostle sheweth ” that he was made sin and became accursed for me,” (Gal.3:13) I hear, then, that I could by no other means be delivered from my sin, my death, and my malediction, but by his death and blood-shedding; wherefore I conclude that it properly appertained to Christ himself to overcome my sin, death, and malediction in his own body, and not to the works of the law or mine own works. And hereunto reason is constrained to yield and say, that Christ is not the work of the law, or my work: that his blood and death is not circumcision, the observation of the ceremonies of the law, and much less a monk’s cowl, a shaven crown, abstinence, vows, and such like. Wherefore if he be the price of my redemption, if he be made sin and malediction that he might justify and bless me, I care not if thou bring a thousand places of scripture for the righteousness of works against the righteousness of faith, and cry out never so much, that the scripture is against me. I have the author and Lord of the scripture with me; on whose side I will rather stand, than believe all the rabblement of law-workers and merit-mongers. Albeit it is impossible that the scripture should be against this doctrine, unless it be among the senseless and obstinate hypocrites; but to the godly, anil euch as have unders anding, it giveth witness for JesusChrist his Lord. See therefore how thou canst reconcile the scripture, which thou sayest is against my doctrine. As for me, I will stick to the author and Lord of the scripture.

Therefore if any man thinketh himself not well able to reconcile such places of the scripture, or answer unto the same sufficiently, and yet notwithstanding is constrained to hear the objections and cavillations of the adversaries, let him answer simply and plainly after this sort: Thou settest against me the servant, that is to say, the scripture, and that not wholly, neither yet the principal part thereof, but only certain places as touchmg the law and works. But I come with the Lord himself, who is above the scripture, and is made unto me the merit and price of righteousness anil everlasting life. On him I lay hold, him I stick to, and leave works unto thee: which notwithstanding thou never didst. This solution neither the devil nor any justiciarv can ever wrest from thee or overthrow. Moreover, thou art in safety before God: for thy heart abideth fixed in the object, which is called Christ; who being nailed to the cross and accursed, not for himself, but for us, as the text saith, was ” made a curse for us.” Hold fast this, and lay it against all the sentences of the law and works whatsoever, and say: Dost thou hear this, Satan? Here he must needs give place, for he knoweth that Christ is his Lord and master.

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