>

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day: Luther Quote from the Commentary on Galatians 2:16

Then we begin to sigh and ask who can help us. When we are terrified by the law like this, we utterly despair of our own strength; we look around for the help of a mediator and saviour. This is the time for the healing word of the Gospel: “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2). Believe in Christ Jesus crucified for your sins. If you feel your sins and the burden of them, do not look upon them in yourself, but remember that they have been transferred and laid on Christ, whose wounds have healed you (Isaiah 53:5).  -- Martin Luther


On October 31, 1517, Dr. Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest and doctor of theology, nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the Wittenberg Castle door.  Although Luther was not alone in his call for reforms in the Roman Catholic Church, this one act is credited with being the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation.  For this reason many honor Martin Luther with being the "father" of the Protestant Reformation.  He is also the reformer for whom the Lutheran Evangelical churches are named.  The following is a quote from Luther's commentary on Galatians 2:16.

The true way to Christianity is, first, to acknowledge that we are sinners according to the law and that it is impossible for us to do anything good. Therefore, you cannot earn grace by what you do; if you try, you double your offense, for since you are a bad tree, you can only produce bad fruit—that is, sins (see Matthew 7:17; Romans 14:23). Anyone who wants to merit grace by works before having faith is trying to please God with sins, which is nothing but heaping sin upon sin and mocking God and provoking his wrath. When a person is taught this by the law, he is terrified and humbled and sees the magnitude of his sin and cannot find in himself one spark of the love of God. Therefore, he confesses that he is guilty of death and eternal damnation. The first part of Christianity, then, is the preaching of repentance and self-knowledge.

The second part is this: if you want to be saved, you must not seek salvation through works. God has sent his one and only Son into the world, that we might live through him. He was crucified and died for you and bore your sins in his own body. God has revealed to us by his Word that he will be a merciful Father to us, and without our deserving it (since we can deserve nothing good) he will freely give us remission of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life for the sake of Christ his Son. God gives his gifts freely to everybody, and that is the praise and glory of his divinity. Those who will not receive grace and everlasting life from him freely but want to earn them by their own actions would in this way utterly remove the glory of his divinity. Therefore, so that he may maintain and defend this glory, he is obliged to send his law, like lightning and thunder from heaven, to bruise and break those hard rocks.

This briefly is our doctrine concerning Christian righteousness. Faith justifies because it takes hold of the treasure of Christ’s presence. But this presence cannot be comprehended by us because we are in darkness. Therefore, where there is an assured trust of the heart, Christ is present, even in the cloud and obscurity of faith. And this is true formal righteousness, by which a person is justified. Rather than love adorning faith, it is Christ who adorns faith—or rather, he is the true form and perfection of faith. Therefore, Christ, seized by faith and living in the heart, is the true Christian righteousness, for which God counts us righteous and gives us eternal life. This is no work of the law but a quite different sort of righteousness and a certain new world beyond and above the law, for Christ or faith is not the law, nor the work of the law.

True Christianity is, first, being taught by the law to know ourselves and thus learning to say with Paul that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23; see also Psalms 14:3; 51:4; 53:3). When we are humbled by the law and brought to self-knowledge, true repentance follows (for true repentance begins with the fear and judgment of God), and we see ourselves to be such great sinners that we can find no way to be delivered from our sins by our own strength, works, or merits. Then we see what Paul means when he says that man is “sold as a slave to sin” (Romans 7:14) and that “God has bound all men over to disobedience” (Romans 11:32) and that the whole world is guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

Then we begin to sigh and ask who can help us. When we are terrified by the law like this, we utterly despair of our own strength; we look around for the help of a mediator and saviour. This is the time for the healing word of the Gospel: “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2). Believe in Christ Jesus crucified for your sins. If you feel your sins and the burden of them, do not look upon them in yourself, but remember that they have been transferred and laid on Christ, whose wounds have healed you (Isaiah 53:5).

This is the beginning of health and salvation. By this means we are delivered from sin, justified, and made inheritors of everlasting life, not because of what we have done to deserve it, but through our faith, by which we lay hold of Christ. Therefore, we also acknowledge a quality and a formal righteousness of the heart—not love, but faith, yet such that the heart must see and hold nothing but Christ the Saviour.


Luther, M. (1998). Galatians. Crossway Classic Commentaries (87–88). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

No comments:

Support Reasonable Christian Ministries with your generous donation.