Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"I fly Unto Christ": Luther on Imputation For When the Devil Accuses

From Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians (as found in Hugh T. Kerr, A Compend of Luther's Theology).

I have oftentimes proved by experience, and I daily find what a hard matter it is to believe (especially in the conflict of conscience)"that Christ was given," not for the holy, righteous, worthy, and such as were his friends, "but for wicked sinners, for the unworthy, and for his enemies, which have deserved God’s wrath and everlasting death.

Let us therefore arm ourselves with these, and such like sentences of the Holy Scripture, that we may be able to answer the devil (accusing us, and saying, " thou art a sinner, and therefore thou art damned") in this sort: Because thou sayest, I am a sinner, therefore I will be righteous and saved; Nay, (saith the devil,) "thou shalt be damned." No, (say I,) for I fly unto Christ, " who hath given himself for my sins;" therefore, Satan, "thou shalt not prevail against me," in that thou goest about to terrify me, in setting forth the greatness of my sins, and so to bring me into heaviness, distrust, despair, hatred, contempt, and blaspheming of God. Yea, rather, in that thou sayest, I am a sinner, thou givest me armour and weapons against thyself, that with thine own sword I may cut thy throat, and tread thee under my feet; for Christ died for sinners. Moreover, thou thyself preachest unto me the glory of God: for thou puttest me in mind of God's fatherly love towards me, wretched and damned sinner; "Who so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but "have everlasting life." John [3:16]. And as often as thou objectest that I am a sinner, so often thou callest me to remembrance of the benefit of Christ my Redeemer, upon whose shoulders, and not upon mine, lie all my sins; for the Lord hath "laid all our iniquity upon him." Isaiah [53:6]. Again, " For the transgressions of his people was he smitten." [vs. 8]. Wherefore, when thou sayest I am a sinner, thou dost not terrify me, but comfortest me above measure.

Whoso knoweth this one point of cunning well, shall easily avoid all the engines and snares of the devil, who, by putting man in mind of his sins, driveth him to despair, and destroyeth him, unless he withstand him with this cunning, and with this heavenly wisdom, whereby only sin, death, and the devil, are overcome. But the man that putteth not away the remembrance of his sin, but keepeth it still and tormenteth himself with his own cogitations, thinketh either to help himself by his own strength or policy, or to tarry the time till his conscience may be quieted, falling into Satan's snares, and miserably afflicted himself, and at length is overcome with the continence the temptation; for the devil will never cease to accuse his conscience. . . .

Hold this fast, and suffer not thyself by any means to be drawn away from this most sweet definition of Christ, which rejoiceth even the very angels in heaven: that is to say, that Christ, according to the proper and true definition, is no Moses, no lawgiver, no tyrant, but a mediator for sins, a free giver of grace, righteousness, and life; who gave himself, not for our merits, holiness, righteousness, and godly life, but for our sins.


For more:
We Preach Christ: Martin Luther, the Apostle Paul, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ "The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther" by Steven Lawson: A Review
Luther on the Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration
Luther on the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6 
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  
The Theology of the Reformers  
The Unquenchable Flame  
Christianity's Dangerous Idea 
"Five Leading Reformers"
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