Monday, November 1, 2010

Let Your Sins Be Strong

I have shared these quotes from Luther a handful of times already over the past few days, and would like to share them here, too.  I appreciate these statements for their bold display of the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
“… learn Christ and him crucified. Learn to praise him and, despairing of yourself, say,
‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness,
just as I am your sin.
You have taken upon yourself what you were not
and have given to me what I was not.’
Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sinner, or to be one. For Christ dwells only in sinners. On this account he descended from heaven, where he dwelt among the righteous, to dwell among sinners. Meditate on this love of his and you will see his sweet consolation. For why was it necessary for him to die if we can obtain a good conscience by our works and afflictions? Accordingly you will find peace only in him and only when you despair of yourself and your own works. Besides, you will learn from him that just as he received you, so he has made your sins his own and has made his righteousness yours.”  Luther's Works 48: 12-13; cf. Luther's Works 35: 49.
Also, in a letter to Melancthon Luther wrote,
13. If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God's glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.
Let Your Sins Be Strong: A Letter From Luther to Melanchthon Letter no. 99, 1 August 1521, From the Wartburg (Segment) Translated by Erika Bullmann Flores from:  Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften  Dr. Johannes Georg Walch, Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15, cols. 2585-2590.