Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Luther Gets It

"At the same time Paul did not condemn circumcision; nor did he compel anyone to undergo it. For it is neither sin nor righteousness to be either uncircumcised or circumcised, just as it is neither sin nor righteousness, but a physical necessity, to eat and drink. For whether you eat or do not eat, you are neither better off nor worse off (1 Cor. 8:8). But if anyone came along and attached either sin or righteousness to it and said: 'If you eat, you are sinning; but if you abstain, you are righteous,' or vice versa, he would be foolish and evil."

Luther get it. Sinful, fallen man will, in his desire to be the author and perfector of his own salvation, will continually attach both sin and righteousness to various acts. He will say, "This is sin" when it is not. He will say, "this is righteous" - or at least more righteous than what you are doing - when it is not. This is as Luther says both foolish and evil.

It is foolish because it sets silly standards that have nothing to do with real sin or real righteousness. It is foolish because it establishes artificial holiness which will only spread discord and discontent amongst Christians. It is foolish because it will lead people to abandon blessings provided to them by God.

And it is evil, because it is idolatry. It makes the self into a god, and thus is the most wicked of all sins and the root of them all.

It's simple. Learn the commandments. Apply them constantly to your life. Strive to live them out - and when you see how utterly and wretchedly you have failed, confess and rejoice in Christ's righteousness. It's as simple as that.

1 comment:

Chad Myers said...

Then what is the point of fasting? Jesus himself said this was necessary in some circumstances (when he came down the hill after the Transfiguration and told the disciples that some demons can only be driven out through prayer *and* fasting.

AFAIK, Luther advocated fasting as well:
"Of fasting I say this: it is right to fast frequently in order to subdue and control the body. For when the stomach is full, the body does not serve for preaching, for praying, for studying, or for doing anything else that is good. Under such circumstances God's Word cannot remain. But one should not fast with a view to meriting something by it as by a good work" (What Luther Says, St. Louis: Concordia Publ. House, Vol.1, 1959, p. 506).