Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Lord over Sin, Death, and the Devil

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther from his preface to Georg Major's edition of Lives of the Fathers, found in the latest volume of Luther's Works from Concordia Publishing House:
It is not difficult, however, to distinguish and discern which of the two groups should be approved. For the Pelagians and Origenists advocate Stoic apathies and all sorts of ways of perfecting one’s life. In such maters they also made trouble for Augustine. But concerning grace, faith, the forgiveness of sins, and the true mighty works of God—by which, as Isaiah [11:6-8] says, an infant conquers death, sin, and hell—they murmur very discreetly and softly, if they do not remain completely silent. Instead, they trumpet their Stoic apathy with both cheeks puffed out. By contrast, the orthodox, proceeding on the middle path, the correct one, neither treat sins with indulgence nor claim perfection for themselves, but proclaim the forgiveness of sins, grace, life, and salvation to sinners who repent and believe. These works, since they are the works of God Himself and of our Lord Christ, are hidden from those wise and understanding people [Luke 10:21]. For who among them sees that a little one who has been baptized is a lord and victor over sin, death, and the devil? but having long ago forgotten their own Baptism, they seek by their own powers to attack and overcome that enemy—the devil, sin, and death—who, they should have known, has been conquered for them in their Baptism, that is, in Christ, the Seed of the woman [Gen 3:15]. Let this be our rule, as it has been and will be forever. To God be praise and glory. Amen.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, American Edition, ed. Christopher Boyd Brown. vol. 60, Prefaces II, (Saint Louis: CPH, 2011) 322.

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