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What Luther Says

Gates of Paradise

I've been reading The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile) by Steven Lawson after I received a free digital copy recently and have loved every minute of it so far!

Here's an interview that Mr. Lawson gave to promote the book a few months ago that will give you a taste of what it's focus is.

The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther: An Interview with Steven Lawson from Ligonier Ministries on Vimeo.

Obviously, Dr. Lawson is of the Reformed camp (as this is sponsored by Ligonier Ministries) so I'll have to rely on you life-long Lutherans to tell me if there was anything about what he said that is inconsistent with Lutheran Doctrine or just not quite right.

From what I could tell though (from the interview and what I've read so far), it seems like a pretty faithful presentation on Luther and certainly worth your time and prayerful consideration during these urgent times.

Here's an excerpt I wanted to share with you.

In this brewing firestorm, Luther came to a dramatic breakthrough. Amid his soul struggle, he became focused on Romans 1:17, "for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" Previously, Luther had understood the righteousness of God mentioned in this verse to mean His active, avenging justice that punishes sinners. He admitted that he hated the righteousness of God, according to this understanding. But while sitting in the tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Luther meditated upon this text, wrestling with its meaning. He writes:

I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, "As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the Decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with his righteousness and wrath!" Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience.

Suddenly, as though a ray of divine light had shone into his darkened heart, Luther grasped the true meaning of the text -- the righteousness of God is received as a gift by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Luther confessed:

At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, "In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, 'He who through faith is righteous shall live.'" There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live." Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.

In this dramatic conversion, Luther came to realize that sinful man is not saved by his good works. Rather, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to sinners on the basis of faith alone. Luther called this a “foreign righteousness,” meaning it is alien to man.

Such righteousness comes from outside of him and is freely given by God. By this realization, justification by faith alone -- sola fide -- became the material principle of the Reformation, namely, the very matter of the gospel.

*- The Heroic Boldness Of Martin Luther (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)
By Steven J. Lawson

Isn't that just beautiful?

I gotta tell ya, Luther's comment ("Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.") resonated with me on a deep level, because that's how I would describe my own experience having escaped American Evangelicalism to becoming a Lutheran myself just recently.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, this is one of the better books I've read in quite some time (I highly recommend it), and I am enjoying my walk with Christ through open gates into this new paradise of new understanding that is really nothing new at all since it's merely the true Biblical Doctrine of Justification, or the doctrine of grace alone through faith alone.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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