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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

Monday, February 25, 2013

Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians: The Purpose of the Law

Martin Luther points out that the moral law of God can only reveal us as sinners (Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7).  It cannot make us right with God even after our conversion.  Although we are no longer under the law as condemnation, Christians ought to be reminded that even after conversion the law does not make anyone right with God.   Luther rightly says:
That we might be justified by faith. The law does not lead us to another lawgiver requiring good works, but to Christ, our justifier and Saviour, so that we might be justified by faith in him, and not by works. But when we feel the force of the law we do not understand or believe this; that is why we say, “I have lived wickedly, for I have transgressed all God’s commandments, and therefore I am guilty of eternal death. If God would prolong my life for a few years, or at least a few months, I would amend my life and live a holy life from now on.” This is an abuse of the proper function of the law. Our reason is overtaken in these troubles and boldly promises God to fulfill the whole law. From this come many sects and many ceremonies designed to merit grace and forgiveness. Those who devised these things thought that the law led them not to Christ but to a new law, or to Christ as a lawgiver and not as one who has abolished the law.

The true function of the law is to bring me to the knowledge of my sin and to humble me, so that I may come to Christ and be justified by faith. But faith is neither law nor work, but an assured confidence that lays hold of Christ, who is the end of the law (Romans 10:4). How? It is not that he has abolished the old law and given us a new one, or that he is a judge who must be pacified by what we do. He is the end of the law to all those who believe; that is to say, everyone who believes in him is righteous, and he will never accuse such people. The law, then, is good, holy, and just if we use it as we should.

Now Paul, as I have already said, is speaking about those who are to be justified, and not about those who are already justified. Therefore, when you try to reason about the law, you must take the material that the law works with—namely, sinners. The law does not justify them but sets sin before their eyes, casts them down, and brings them to self-knowledge. It shows them hell and God’s wrath and judgment. This is the real function of the law. The point of this is that sinners may know that the law does not reveal their sin to them and humble them so that they should despair, but so that by accusing and bruising them it may drive them to Christ, the Saviour and comforter. When this is done, they are no longer under the law. The whole world is overwhelmed with sin and needs this service of the law, so that sin may be revealed; otherwise no one would ever attain righteousness. But what does the law do for those who are already justified by Christ? Paul answers by adding to what he has already said.


Martin Luther, Galatians, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 186-87.

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