Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Offending Reason

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther:
Therefore the first thing to be done is that through faith we kill unbelief, contempt and hatred of God, and the murmuring against His wrath, His judgment, and all the words and deeds of God; for then we kill reason. It can be killed by nothing else but faith, which believes God and thus attributes His glory to Him. It does this in spite of the fact that He speaks what seems foolish, absurd, and impossible to reason, and in spite of the fact that God depicts Himself otherwise than reason can either judge or grasp, namely, this way: “If you wish to placate Me, do not offer Me your works and merits. But believe in Jesus Christ, My only Son, who was born, who suffered, who was crucified, and who died for your sins. Then I will accept you and pronounce you righteous. And whatever of your sin still remains in, you I will not impute to you.” If reason is not slaughtered, and if all the religions and forms of worship under heaven that have been thought up by men to obtain righteousness in the sight of God are not condemned, the righteousness of faith cannot stand.

When reason hears this, it is immediately offended and says: “Then are good works nothing? Have I toiled and borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat (Matt. 20:12) for nothing?” This is the source of that revolt of the nations, kings, and princes against the Lord and against His Christ (Ps. 2:1–2). The pope with his monks does not want to give the impression of having erred; much less will he permit himself to be condemned. Likewise the Turk and others.

I have said this in interpretation of the sentence “And it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” in order that the students of the Sacred Scriptures may understand how Christian righteousness is to be defined properly and accurately, namely, that it is a trust in the Son of God or a trust of the heart in God through Christ. Here this clause is to be added to provide the differentia for the definition: “which faith is imputed as righteousness for the sake of Christ.” For, as I have said, these two things make Christian righteousness perfect: The first is faith in the heart, which is a divinely granted gift and which formally believes in Christ; the second is that God reckons this imperfect faith as perfect righteousness for the sake of Christ, His Son, who suffered for the sins of the world and in whom I begin to believe. On account of this faith in Christ God does not see the sin that still remains in me. For so long as I go on living in the flesh, there is certainly sin in me. But meanwhile Christ protects me under the shadow of His wings and spreads over me the wide heaven of the forgiveness of sins, under which I live in safety. This prevents God from seeing the sins that still cling to my flesh. My flesh distrusts God, is angry with Him, does not rejoice in Him, etc. But God overlooks these sins, and in His sight they are as though they were not sins. This is accomplished by imputation on account of the faith by which I begin to take hold of Christ; and on His account God reckons imperfect righteousness as perfect righteousness and sin as not sin, even though it really is sin.
Luther, M. (1999, c1963). Vol. 26: Luther's works, vol. 26 : Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (26:vii-232). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.


Eddie Eddings said...

Been looking over your blog! God bless you brother and keep up the God work!

Scott Diekmann said...

Thanks Corky. Oops. I mean Eddie!