The Intrusion of the Cross

Lutheran CollectiblesTaking a brief break from Bavinck on certainty by going back to something I’ve posted on before, I want to point out a few incredibly profound theses by Luther in the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518.   G. Forde wrote an excelent book discussing these theses by Luther called On Being A Theologian of the Cross, if you want to read into it more.

The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.

Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.

Although the works of God always seem unattractive and appear evil, they are nevertheless really eternal merits.

Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does what it is able to do, it commits a mortal sin.

The person who believes that he can obtain grace by doing what is in him adds sin to sin so that he becomes doubly guilty.

That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened [Rom. 1.20].

He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.

He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.

The law says, “Do this,” and it is never done. Grace says, “believe in this,” and everything is already done.

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

Contemplate those for awhile, considering the medieval Roman Catholic background.  Indeed, the Reformation was a theological/religious reformation first and foremost; the cross dragged the church back to the gospel.  These theses are proof!

shane lems

sunnyside wa

2 thoughts on “The Intrusion of the Cross”

  1. Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.

    Most of us our familiar with the three conditions required for an action to be good: 1) must arise from true faith, 2) conforms to God’s law, 3) is done for His glory.

    Our days are comprised of hundreds, if not thousands, of individual actions. When you stop to think about it though, how many of these actions actually conform to all three conditions? If you’re like me, then it’s a pretty pathetic percentage. We think we’re good, but yet we’re accruing mortal sins.

    The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.

    On our own, we’re as bankrupt as a Wall Street investment bank- things look really impressive and flashy from the outside, but the inner workings stink.

    Thank God for our hope:
    He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.

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