If people ask what religious text (other than the bible) has had the most impact upon my theology and thinking, they'd get a surprising answer. Some might guess that it would be the Small Catechism (which is up there, and a good one to impact your thought), or maybe another writing of Luther's (Freedom of the Christian or maybe the Greater Galatians commentary). Those who want to write me off will claim that I've just been suckered in by the works of ___insert-theologian-to-complain-about-here____.
Nope. It's a hymn. Salvation Unto Us Has Come. Luthernism in a nutshell... er... verse form.
Salvation unto us has come (say, look at how that verb works... we're not active)
by God's free grace and favor (free, you say? His favor)
Good works cannot avert our doom (lacking in power, you say)
They help and save us never (... never? Never help myself?)
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone (so... not looking at my works?)
Who did for all the world atone (so I can tell my neighbor what Jesus did for them?)
He is our one Redeemer (Huh - our. Not just my...)
A lot that probably sounds rather familiar to readers of this blog in there, isn't there?
Now, I'm not going to do the whole 10 verses here... maybe that would be a good series... but let's just consider the verses (I'm using the LSB 555 version).
2. You do not meet God's holy demands, because your flesh does not have pure desires.
3. If you think you can work your way to God or prove yourself to Him, you missed the point.
4. Attempting more works just leads to increasing guilt. Corruption sucks.
5. Christ fulfills the law for us (yea incarnation!)
6. We are glad and saved by Christ.
7. The Word and Baptism point to this truth, over and over.
8. Law and Gospel (oh, and if you think there's peace in the Law, you've messed it up)
9. Faith Clings to Christ and alone justifies - works serve the neighbor and demonstrate faith.
10. We praise the God who reveals His love in Christ.
Yep. That's where I come from most all the time.
So, if you don't like that I speak to the false, misleading dream of the Law...
If you don't like the constant thrust on the frailty of our flesh...
If you don't like the idea that the law always accuses and brings no peace...
If you don't like the fact that Christ alone is our righteousness...
If you don't like the fact that works are for the neighbor and should be viewed in that light...
If you don't like the constant trumping of the Gospel....
If you don't like the return to the Word and disdaining of your virtue philosophy...
Then take it all up with Speratus.