A Few Criteria for Assessing Lutheran Discussions of Law

by

Some criteria for assessing Lutheran discussions of law:

1. Can a particular understanding of law make sense of Luther’s criticism of such things as pilgrimages? Luther argued that such actions are not commanded by God and thus we cannot know that they are God-pleasing. Such actions as honoring our parents, however, are commanded by God and so we know we are doing what God wishes when we honor our parents. It seems to me that some recent Lutheran presentations on law cannot make sense of this argument by Luther.

2. Can a particular understanding of law make sense of the sections on the Ten Commandments in Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms? Luther here clearly presents the law as instruction on what persons (Christians included) ought to do. There may be some understandings of a ‘third use of the law’ that are objectionable (e.g., directly deriving legal or political structures from Old Testament models), but that there is a kind of third use, a pedagogical use, in the Catechisms’ discussion of the Commandments seems obvious.

3. Can a particular understanding of law make sense of Ps. 119? We may want to make distinctions between what ‘law’ means in this psalm and what it means when law is contrasted with gospel, but the two uses overlap significantly. In both cases, they involve moral instruction. And the psalmist gives thanks for the law as a blessing: “Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (v. 97). This psalm is not an obscure passage to be passed over; it has been an important part of Christian prayer

The law always accuses, but it does not only accuse, nor does it only accuse and restrain. It instructs. If that is not Lutheran, then Lutheranism is not biblical.

About these ads

28 Responses to “A Few Criteria for Assessing Lutheran Discussions of Law”

  1. Steve Bowser Says:

    Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, writing his last article in ‘The Public Square’
    (Feb 2009 issue of First Things) argues for a moral theology based on loving and pleasing God. The article entitled, “On Loving the Law of God” bases this understanding both on Ps. 119 and John 14:15, where Jesus says to his disciples, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
    In both cases, the law clearly appears to be something more than that which “aways accuses”. While the law will always accuse sin and every manipulative attempt of the old adam towards works righteousness, it is the manipulation (works), not righteousness, the law accuses. Neuhaus takes to task a kind of bi-polar approach to the law/Gospel dialectic, where sinners are continually brought down by the law and then raised by the Gospel, only to be repeated again and again in yo-yo fashion. He argues for a more relational approach which perceives by the grace of God, that with the old adam is also the new adam, who rightly obeys Jesus’ commandments not out of legalistic requirement or self assertion, but out of love for Christ. ( Never perfected of course ) In this sense, the accusation of the law has a specific function to the sinful self, and another function to to the new self who seeks to love Jesus, by obeying his commands.

  2. Carol Weist Says:

    Luther’s catechetical hymn “These are the Holy Ten Commands” (Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot) is set to a medieval pilgrimage hymn (In Gottes Namen fahren wir), perhaps ironically because Luther did not set a high value on pilgrimage or consider them spiritual necessities. Luther wrote the words as a pedagogical tool, not unlike the songs written to help memorize the catechism or the books of the Bible we use. It is 12 verses, the last verse asks for Christ’s help in following the commandments since he is our mediator and our own works can only bring wrath. (LW v53, p277) What originally intrigued me about this hymn was Bach’s choral preludes based on this hymn. Over the years on and off I have played through Bach’s organ works in some shape or form. Bach does not develop his interpretation of Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot with the same somber intervals and rhythmic patterns he does for Durch Adam’s Fall ist ganz verderbt. One of Bach’s renditions of die heilgen zehn Gebot is a gigue (which rhymes with jig to which it kin). That one kind of journeys along in a skip. None of them have a somber gait, but they have a comfortable journeying gait. I have spent more time playing through Bach’s music than reading about his theology and the theology of his times. But his chorale preludes on the ten commandments hardly point an accusing finger at you, unless you get too worried about all the notes you miss or re-arrange. If I did not know the title, I would have guessed that the chorale preludes on the 10 commandments were intrumental arrangements of All Glory be to God on High.
    Another thing is somewhere along the way, I learned that Torah, which is easiest to translate law, still includes the idea of teaching in modern Judaism as it does in the Hebrew scriptures. I think the idea of guidance is rolled in there as well. Psalm 119 plays with the full spectrum of the meaning of Torah. The Lutheran concept of Law as in Law/Gospel, fleshes out a particular subset of that meaning. I have not double-checked myself on this understanding for a while.

  3. Timothy J. Swenson Says:

    One must be vigilant regarding the uses of the Law: the uses belong to God and not to us–either as saint or sinner. By the two uses of the Law God orders creation out of chaos and orders sinners to death. These uses are applied via the proclamation of God’s Word as Law AND Gospel. Now, when we humans try to use the law–either as measuring stick for our own righteousness or a carrot and stick upon our neighbors–the word ceases to be the proclamation of God’s Word and becomes the legislation of a human word.

    When the uses of the Law are applied via the proclamation of God’s Word as Law AND Gospel, there are occasions when the Commandments are heard as promise–the promise of the God who chooses us and orders this creation in such a way that its fruit gets delivered to us; and orders sinners to death and new life as saints via the delivery of the fruit of the new creation, Jesus Christ.

    As for Neuhaus… While I admired much about the man, his restlessness regarding the authority of the Word as proclamation led him to commingle that authority with the authority of human legislation. Thus, by the end, he had confused divine and civil righteousness and no longer rightly distinguished Law and Gospel.

  4. Carol Weist Says:

    Tim,
    I don’t recall hearing the term commingling used in conjunction with the authority of the Word and the authority of human legislation or rightly dividing Law and Gospel, and the uses of the Law. I am more familiar with that term as the rationale my Missouri synod neighbors use to explain why they have a policy of closed communion.

    My initial sermon preparation process does include considering how the texts I am preaching from preach the various types of law and also gospel to me, and some reflection on what others might hear based on things they have told me. That is the extent of my rightly dividing except for aiming to end on a grace note. I am not in the practice of doing a final theological review. And just like a piece of music which you have worked on, when you are actually preaching a sermon you realize that there is a little too much of something here and not enough of that there. Or seeing someone’s face reminds you of another connection the text or music has to that particular group of people.

    One can reflect on law and gospel all day and never be quite sure if one has it right.

  5. vindicating elert Says:

    “The law always accuses, but it does not only accuse, nor does it only accuse and restrain. It instructs. If that is not Lutheran, then Lutheranism is not biblical.”

    This assertion flies in the face of the early Melanchthon. Even the securing function of the law does not forego the accusans nature of the law. There is no third use of the law in Lutheranism because as justified and sinner simul this side of the grave the accusans nature of the law is needed and operative in order to put the old person to death through God’s wrath in the law. It is always operative. If you believe there is a third use of the law in the catechisms, I see Luther there nothing more than using the law to drive us to repentance and the instruction is nothing more than instructing us in the severity of the law which can do nothing more than accuse. ‘

    If you are attempting to prove that there is (coram deo, not coram hominis) a neutral aspect embedded within the understanding of the law (which a third use has), then I’m afraid you are caught up in negating what the primary polemic was for the Lutheran reformers. That is, that the severity of sin and the inescapability of sin can only be remedied by the intervention of the God in Christ, nothing less and nothing more. There is no neutral third law stuff nor system of morality which can stand before God’s righteousness. Or is God’s command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil and the resultant disobedience of that command not operative? Indeed it is. It is even operative in our puny attempts to use our self-created systems of morality as merits before God’s face in terms of justification. The statements by the reformers about so-called non-sinners are only raised as hypothetical situations which can never be this side of the grave. Formula of Concord on 3rd use only acknowledges 3rd use as a hypothetical not as an actual situation. Sinners always remain sinners or else Christ’s benefits become shallow and ineffective.

    Elert is clear about this also. The full witness of Elert has been misrepresented within this country predominately by both some in the ELCA as well as some in the LCMS. Read the full text of Elert’s Glaube as well as his Ethos. Your opinion will change.

    I’m afraid your lMethodist remnants in your background infiltrate your teaching at a Lutheran institution.

  6. theoldadam Says:

    Of course the Law instructs…but it cannot make us do.

    We know exactly what to do. The law is written upon our hearts. But we just flat out refuse to do it!

    If we have to be told to do something…we have already blown it.

  7. Pr. Keith A. Hunsinger Says:

    The gift of the Law at Sinai was to both express God’s will for the people of Israel and to order their new society no longer under pharoah’s yoke. I can not read either Catechism without seeing both desires still present. Even Luther’s placement of the Ten Commandments first in the Small Catechism suggests the importance of witnessing to one’s faith by moral behavior.

    • vindicating elert Says:

      Wrong. Luther’s use of the decalogue in the catechisms was to draw our attention toward our fallenness and its specific use by the sinner is to discover one’s true nature as sinner. The next section on the Creeds begins the remedy. One cannot use the 1st part of the catechism, ie God’s law, apart from the Creeds, ie. growing in relationship with God specifically then in terms of the redemption that Christ has brought in article 2. Even design-wise Luther was brilliant in that article 2 of the creed would stand at the center of his catechism situationally.

      Using the decalogue as you describe above is to use it as it has been used, within a Calvinist context such as we live within the USA. We live and breathe this way of using the decalogue because we live within a Calvinist culturally influenced atmosphere and so have lost sight of the unique Lutheran distinctiveness of why the church specifically retains the importance of God’s law.

      God’s law is to drive us to Christ and his benefits; not to drive us back onto our self-constructed ways of living morally. To be driven to Christ means to be driven to his unique forgiveness of my sin. To be driven back either to God’s law for informational or constructive purposes only drives us back upon our own conceptions of right and wrong which we have forfeited the day when Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That day means that yes perhaps we have gained that knowledge of good and evil but it is never applied by us responsibly but always irresponsibly. God never stresses that we are faithfully responsible. Since the day of Adam’s fall, history has been the arena upon which irresponsibility is the cornerstone and therefore God’s law has been established to curb our use of irresponsibility. God’s law may maintain security but it maintains security in a relative and ambiguous manner. God’s law is applied to people because God is always suspect of us within our Adamic nature.

  8. theoldadam Says:

    “Even Luther’s placement of the Ten Commandments first in the Small Catechism suggests the importance of witnessing to one’s faith by moral behavior.”

    I don’t buy that.

    Luther put them first to condemn us. That’s the proper law/gospel order.

  9. theoldadam Says:

    Pastor,

    I guess that they can.

    I just know that in my case, my moral behavior is nothing to write home about. I do not invite my enemies to diiner. I do not live off a thin margin of income and give the rest to the poor. I do not regularly visit nursing homes or those in prison.

    For me (anyway), the best witness is opening my mouth and speaking of the one who was moral and upright and who did go to the cross for our sakes.

  10. theoldadam Says:

    Where I live, many of the ‘happy pagans’ appear to be living an outwardly moral life.
    I think that the law ought not be preached to make us better, but rather prached hard, like Jesus preached it on the Sermon on the Mount. No one will be left standing, but Him.

  11. Pr. Keith A. Hunsinger Says:

    Certainly we are not justified before God on account of our lives but through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That said, doesn’t Paul spend a great deal of time in his many letters beseeching us to live lives worthy of our calling? Did not the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures do likewise? Does it not (or would it not) enhance your “opening my mouth and speaking of the one who was moral and upright and who did go to the cross for our sakes” if people saw it make a difference in your life?

  12. theoldadam Says:

    Pastor,

    We are fully sinful in this life. It is our condition. We will not to stop sinning…otherwise we would stop.

    That is why we (in my Lutheran congregation) do not place the emphasis on what we do, or do not do. It shifts the focus to ‘us’, instead of Christ.

    The Holy Spirit inspires goodness in us, not the law. St. Paul also reminds us that when the law came in, sin increased.

    We do encourage people and remind them that they are now free in Christ. But we do not get specific, because then they are subtly being put back under the yoke of slavery, which is the law and our ability to keep it.

    Thanks, Pastor.

    • Pr. Keith A. Hunsinger Says:

      OK.

      For me that freedom is to be lived out as a servant to others and the Law gives me a target for that servanthood.

      I am not sure we are really on different sides of this issue.

  13. theoldadam Says:

    Pastor,

    Maybe we do not disagree.

    I say no prescriptions of behavior, using the law, for it makes either phonies, Pharisees, or brings people to despair and throw the whole thing overboard.

    Use the law to convict, and kill…and then the gospel to make alive again.

    And that the Holy Spirit needs no help from the law to inspire people to do good.

    Thanks, my friend.

  14. Christopher Luke Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Root’s criteria for the Law. I simply cannot read Luther’s Catechisms or Psalm 119 without coming to the same conclusions. I have a hard time understanding how one does not see Luther’s Catechisms teaching both the law as divine instruction for the believer, and the divine light that exposes our need for God. One must be reading into Luther one’s own strong ideology to come up with any other conclusion. My confessions professor at an ELCA seminary strongly believes there is no “third use of the Law” in Luther’s Catechisms, which to me seemed like the professor was applying the professor’s own ideology.

    Perhaps the fact that my introduction to Lutheranism was Luther’s own catechisms and not someone else’s interpretation of Luther’s theology has exposed me to less bias in reading Luther than others who grew up in Lutheranism and learned Lutheran theology from others.

  15. Steve Bowser Says:

    Interesting conversation. Sometimes it seems we are so focused on containing the sinful inclinations of the Old Adam, that we dismiss our own baptismal theology, which affirms that for the baptized, there is ‘more than one adam, in adam’, so to speak. “Sealed by the Holy Sprit, and marked by the Cross of Christ forever”, the New Adam is born, if not yet fully realized. If the New Adam exists in Baptism, however partially realized, this new identity in Christ cannot but affirm all that God has already revealed, for God can not deny Himself. This Old and New Adam is seen in Paul, who on one hand bemoans his inablity to do what he wants to do, but also affirms it is no longer he who lives, but Christ who lives in him.
    Both are true, because Paul is not one adam, but two. The former dying, the other being raised up.

    The notion that the law has no intructive use, makes the Great Commission difficult to comprehend, both theologically as well as historically. We as Church, have been commanded by Jesus to “teach all that I have commanded you”. This cannot be ironic, because we – being here – are recipients and beneficiaries of the obedience of those who have obeyed this commandment in its plain sense. If we are looking for the fruits of obedience to Jesus’ commandments, we need only look at ourselves.

  16. theoldadam Says:

    Of course the law instructs. But it does not give us the desire to do it.

    That is why the law always accusses. Lex semper accusat.

  17. Steve Bowser Says:

    I agree. The law itself does not create the desire to fulfill the law.
    The origin of this discussion (for me) was Dr. Root’s assertion that the law in Scripture has an ordering/instructive function, ( Genesis 1, Exodus 20 ) in addition to the accusing one, ( Romans 1 and any of the Passion narratives.) Where then does love and delight in the law, both in Ps. 119 and John 14 come from? Such love comes neither from the Old Adam nor the law, but from the Holy Spirit. This means the law has a Trinitarian shape, and only in the Trinity is it fully ’rounded’ in the life of God’s people. In this sense there is a “use” of the law for every Person of the Trinity. The Father, who reveals himself in creation and the Commandments, reveals the Law as the Word which orders. The Son, reveals the Word of Law as that which accuses, not just in the lives of sinners, but in the Christ who takes upon himself the sins of the whole world. The Holy Spirit, reveals the Law to the New Creature born of the Spirit itself: as the Law that can be loved. For to love God, is to love what God commands, sacrifices, and re-orders. This new ordering of desire can only be created by the Spirit, who makes us a new creation. The law itself cannot do it, nor can the Old Adam.

    • Jim Wagner Says:

      I think this is an extrememly fruitful line of inquiry. While I am somewhat reluctant to say that the Spirit makes us love the law, could we say that the Spirit makes us love what the law requires?

  18. Michael Says:

    All,

    I have four problems with Christian (and esp Lutheran) discussions of the “Law” (and I consider myself a devout Lutheran). Forgive me, but here goes:

    First, many Jews, even Jewish theologians (e.g., Heschel) are puzzled by Christian attempts to twist what they see as God’s purpose in giving the Torah to the Israelites (and all of mankind). For example, what in the world does “accuse” mean when Christians claim that the Law accuses. Prosecutors accuse. People accuse. The Torah is inanimate. Let me put this more simply — were I to claim that the speed limit laws “accuse” me, what normal person would understand what I mean. When I am accused of violating the speed limit, the officer who wrote the ticket is the accuser, not the law. Moreover, the speed limit law exists to protect my neighbor from my actions, not as an arbitrary standard to which I must conform that I might be judged a good person.

    The Torah simply sits there and does nothing except invite people into God’s covenant. In this way, people have a choice whether to order their lives to God’s will, or not. That some men (notably medieval, guilt-ridden Christian theologians) view the law as their source of guilt to my mind is a simplistic way of avoiding the hard work of self-examination and repentance.

    Second, to my knowledge (and I would appreciate the correction if I’m wrong), the Hebrew Scriptures no where claim that perfect obedience is required for salvation. Indeed, the existence of God’s grace is manifest proof that He holds no expectation of perfect obedience. This idea of perfect obedience is another source of Jewish puzzlement. To Jews, the Torah serves a purpose similar to the speed limit law (above). The LORD passed His Torah to the Israelites not as a measuring stick or hurdle to be leaped, but a gracious gift to help all mankind order the world in ways pleasing to Him.

    (sarcasm alert) Third, does it not frustrate the ecclesium, and especially Lutheran theologians, that parents insist on teaching their children that they have an obligation to behave morally?

    I ask this because every Jewish and Christian mom and dad that I know teaches God’s values (the Torah) to their children and impose demands on their children to obey accordingly. Indeed, I suspect that 99.999% of the laity cares not a wit for these theological discussions of the “nature of the law” and its purpose. To them, the purpose of the law is crystal clear: Contra many [mainline] Protestant theologians, most of us simply care, and care deeply, that our children grow up to be “good” Christians where “good” and “bad” are determined by behavior. I judge as fortunate the observation that much of formal Protestant theology has not made it into the hearts of mom and dad.

    Fourth, I teach a Biblical ethics course at my church. In the first session of my course, I conducted an experiment suggested to me by Dennis Prager. I asked the simple question: “What makes a good person?” Most answers were of the form “someone who doesn’t lie, cheat, or steal.” Of course, these are wrong answers. Such people are not “good”, they are merely obedient. In truth, about half of the Torah are “positive” teachings and, according to Jesus, the whole of the Torah is love of God and neighbor. To the whole of this teaching we are bound.

    This is where Luther got it wrong . For reasons unclear to me (but, see my p.s. below), he saw only the proscriptive part of the Torah. As stated above, I believe God obligates us not only to obey His proscriptive teachings but also to do positive good in this world, i.e., strive to be “good”, not just obedient. Where we fail and genuinely repent, his grace is bestowed in the form of forgiveness. But we are no less obligated to obedience.

    Forgive my clumsy wording and misspellings. I wrote this rather quickly and have surely made many errors along the way.

    Blessings to this wonderful web site,

    Michael
    P.S. Actually I think the New Perspective guys (Wright et al) may be on to something (http://www.thepaulpage.com/category/blog/).

    • Dave B. Says:

      “Indeed, the existence of God’s grace is manifest proof that He holds no expectation of perfect obedience.”

      If God does not expect perfect obedience, how much obedience does he expect? If the existence of God’s grace implies imperfect obedience, then could not God’s grace also imply (and cover) complete disobedience? But then, this would make the Law rather superfluous, and completely negate your argument.

      But if the imperative implies an indicative, then God’s grace (and Christ), is superfluous, and becomes a stumbling block for anyone who strives after righteousness.

      Perhaps the existence of God’s grace is manifest proof that He expects perfect obedience, and he knows that we cannot do it!

      • Michael Says:

        Let me see if I can clarify my claim that “the existence of God’s grace is proof that He holds no expectation of perfect obedience.”

        My use of the words “perfect obedience” is applicable only to certain of God’s commandments. Consider murder. I can truly claim that I have perfectly obeyed God’s command that I not murder. Were I to die this instant and stand before God I can truly claim to have perfectly obeyed this commandment.

        On the other hand, perfect obedience is impossible for much of God’s law, especially the most important one, the Great Commandment (Lev 19:18) because obedience to a postive law is not usually not definable. In this case, perfect obedience to this commandment is impossible not only because we are fallen, but because (1) no objective standards exist by which to judge obedience and (2) God’s created order is such that there exists conflicting ethical demands that often require disobedience of certain of God’s laws.

        In other words, a perfect human (e.g., Jesus) could still violate God’s will. For example, when the Nazi asks whether Jews are hiding in your house, do you lie knowing that a truthful answer will surely lead to the death of the Jews in your basement (as well as yourself)? In this scenario, no matter what our answer, we commit sin.

        Now here’s the rub: Luther, I think, ordered his faith around the notion that God measures the extent to which we fail to uphold God’s law. Moreover, Luther sees all law as having objective, definable criteria. But, religious Jews (at least the ones I know and have read — see, for example, Heschel’s “Heavenly Torah”) see their Torah as instruction or teachings that guide us in ordering our lives in community where doing good has no firm objective standard.

        >…then could not God’s grace also imply (and cover) complete disobedience?

        No, because. God’s grace is unavailable for (1) those who do not believe, (2) those who commit unforgiveable sin, and (3) those who do not repent. Complete disobedience would involve one or more of these behaviors.

        >But then, this would make the Law rather superfluous…

        Not at all because God’s central ethical demand is that we live for the benefit of others. When we regard the Torah as a guide book on how to live a righteous life – a life that is dedicated to doing chesed (“loving-kindness”) – the law is seen as a necessary and sufficient requirement for doing God’s will and not as a set of rules to be followed.

        Peace to you

        Michael

  19. theoldadam Says:

    Michael,

    Forgive me, my friend. I should not have been so curt with you. I am a relatively new Lutheran myself (10 years) so I should realize that all do not have the same understanding. I am also blessed with a great teacher/pastor.

    The law accuses and condemns because the law is the perfectly stright ruler (measuring stick) to the righteousness that God expects from us.

    When the law is preached correctly, there is no wiggle room (as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount). Jesus preached the law hard. So that no one, absolutely no one would be left standing in it’s demand.

    This is the point at which the law puts to death any pretense by ourselves that we can actually be what God demands we be…perfect.

    So, then what? Then the gospel is preached (also in it’s purity – hopefully) and it forgives us and raises us to new life.

    That, my friend, is Lutheranism at it’s best, and that is the law/gospel paradigm which is so lacking in so much of the church today.

    Thanks, my friend.

  20. theoldadam Says:

    Jim,

    The law demands good works…the Spirit (or the gospel) inspires them.

    In my opinion, that’s the best way to look at it.

  21. Steve Bowser Says:

    I think the Psalmist is speaking of the law itself, not merely it’s intent,
    though both may be appropriate in the end. I suspect the issue isn’t just
    the culture religion creates, or theology per se, but how we conceive of
    time – both chronos and kairos. The Holy Spirit, by Jesus’ own Word, is
    mercurial, coming and going when and where he pleases. This quality
    however does not mean the Spirit is ‘de-coupled’ or ‘de-tripled’ from the
    Father and the Son. To say this, is to deny the unity of the Trinity,
    evidenced in the Scripture & Creeds, and in the sense that God cannot
    be inconsistent with Himself. This is at odds to the current theology in
    force, where ‘life in the Spirit’ can mean nearly anything, and often
    suggests a ‘brave new world’ into the future, (chronos) untethered by
    what has come before (kairos) including creation, prophetic witness,
    even Christ himself, who appears ‘at the right time’ in history). A sign of
    this is the current ‘renaming theology’ evidenced in our own
    hymnal. This de-coupling suggests the gnostic: unknown, unknowable
    but to the few, yet always ‘new’. A more grounded alternative suggests
    othewise: the ‘new thing’ the Spirit is doing, is ‘re-breathing’ that which
    once was regarded as old: a love for God – including law and gospel –
    both in their fullness, and our life under both. To love God this way may
    feel as ‘reluctant’ to us in our chronos, as Paul feels to the Jews in
    theirs, but the content isn’t all that different – just the direction in time,
    one waiting in time for that yet to be revealed, what the other is waiting
    in time to rediscover. This suggests in salvation history, the work of the
    Spirit uses time like clay – to reveal the new thing God is doing, and
    rediscover the fullness of what God has done. It also suggests new and
    yet ‘not new’ possibilities for the Church’s proclaimation, while hinting at
    a bridge between those chosen under the law, and those chosen under
    the gospel. All in God’s good time.

    past

  22. Chuck Says:

    Michael,

    Two things: I cannot say I haven’t murdered. Before you call the FBI though(!) remember Jesus taught that even though we’ve been told not to murder, we do so even if we are angry with another and are therefore “liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt 5:22) Jesus totally flipped on it’s head what the listeners at the time, including the Jews, thought they knew about the Law. Something to think about…

    >>>Now here’s the rub: Luther, I think, ordered his faith around the notion that God measures the extent to which we fail to uphold God’s law.
    I’d say Luther DID order his faith around that notion before his wacky “grace through faith” revelation. What was driving him nuts was overwhelming guilt not being able to follow God’s law. Only God’s grace through Jesus Christ alleviated his conscience!

    That’s all. Thanks for reading. :)
    Chuck

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: