>

Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Faith Without Works Justifies: Martin Luther

The Holy Scriptures, especially the New Testament, often mention faith in Christ and say that whoever believes in him is saved, does not perish, is not judged, has eternal life, and so on (see John 3:16 and 5:24). Saying that people who believe in him are condemned because they have faith without works is to pervert everything, making Christ a destroyer and a murderer, and Moses a saviour. I admit that our adversaries do not use these exact words, but this is in fact what they teach. They say that faith in Christ does not make us free from sin, but only faith combined with love. This is to say that Christ leaves us in our sins and in the wrath of God and makes us guilty of eternal death, whereas if you keep the law, faith justifies you because it has works, without which faith is no help. Therefore, works justify, and not faith, they claim. What pernicious and cursed teaching this is!

Paul bases his argument on an impossibility. If we are justified in Christ and yet are still sinners and can be justified only by some means other than Christ—namely, by the law—then Christ cannot justify us but only accuses and condemns us. And it then follows that Christ died in vain, and this passage and others (such as John 1:29 and 3:16) are not true. The whole Scripture is then false when it tells us that Christ is the justifier and Saviour of the world. If we are still sinners after we have been justified by Christ, it follows that those who fulfill the law are justified without Christ. If this is true, then we are heretics, professing the name and Word of God outwardly but in reality denying Christ and his Word. It is therefore great impiety to say that faith does not justify unless it is combined with works of love. If faith and works together justify us, then Paul’s words are not true when he says we are justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law (verse 16).

Luther, M. (1998). Galatians. The Crossway classic commentaries (93–94). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

2 comments:

bnafreedom said...

Thank you for publishing the Collect and the readings of Scripture for St. Mark's Day. It's so refreshing to read the BCP on-line. Keep up the good work!
Ridley Cranmer
http://bnafreedom.posterous.com

Charlie J. Ray said...

Thank-you, bnafreedom. I like to write my own articles but sometimes we need to hear quotes from the articles of faith or from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

Support Reasonable Christian Ministries with your generous donation.