Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Luther Gem

This is what Luther writes on the Ascension Gospel from Luke

(From a sermon on our Gospel Lesson) A Christian is at once a sinner and a saint; he is wicked and pious at the same time. For so far as our persons are concerned, we are in sins and are sinners in our own name. But Christ brings us another name, in which there is the forgiveness of sins, that for His sake sins are remitted and pardoned. So both statements are true: There are sins, for the old Adam is not entirely dead as yet; yet the sins are not there. The reason is this: For Christ’s sake God does not want to see them I have my eyes on them. I feel and see them well enough. But there is Christ, commanding that I should repent, that is, confess myself a sinner and believe the forgiveness of sins in His name. For repentance, remorse, and knowledge of sin, though necessary, is not enough; faith in the forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ must be added. But where there is such a faith, God no longer sees any sins; for then you stand before God, not in your name but in Christ’s Name. He adorns you with grace and righteousness, although in your own person you are a poor sinner, full of weakness and unbelief.

At its heart, all forms of legalism deny this. They deny this and think that with enough effort, enough sweat, enough good preaching of the Law that the Christian will be in this life just a Saint.

And so the Law is preached in a deformed way. It is preached so that it is obtainable - its teeth are ripped of it to where it is not a statement about who you *are* but merely about what you *do*. And even that *do* is watered down or twisted into just whatever the given preacher has as his personal bugaboo.

Christian preaching does not do this. The Christian preaching of the Law reveals sin - shows that the person is a sinner. Then the Gospel is proclaimed.

Will people be the better for this? Of course - how could they not, the Gospel gives life. But even a "better" sinner now is and remains a sinner. Even the better sinner is still lost and condemned if left to their own devices. We only stand before God in the Name of Christ the Crucified.

Everything else is like tinfoil. Shiny, but weak, cheap, and easily torn and broken.

No comments: