"Over against all that reason suggests or would measure and fathom, yes, all that our senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it."

- Martin Luther

Luther's Rose

I wish most importantly to state a case for Christ and His Cross for the unbeliever, but I also wish to make the case for both the unbeliever and the "blessedly inconsistent" towards the true apostolic and catholic teachings of the blessed and orthodox Lutheran Church.


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Reason's Indigestion~Day 3

Today we examine Luther's first thesis of the Heidelberg Disputation:

Thesis 1:
"The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him."

The Law of God is good. It tells us how our heart should be towards our neighbor and towards God Himself. However, when we examine our hearts by God's Law we not only see it accusing us of our sins, but we also see that it awakens an evil desire within us. Therefore, the more we practice the Law, and the more we attempt perfection in the light of Gods law, the more our flesh in evilness struggles against our will to do good.

We find ourselves in the same predicament as the wretched man in Romans 7:7-24:

"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."

"Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"

Luther offers this following passage as the proof of his thesis, it states:

"This is made clear by the Apostle in his letter to the Romans (3[:21]): "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law." St. Augustine interprets this in his book, The Spirit and the Letter (De Spiritu et Littera): "Without the law, that is, without its support." In Rom. 5[:20] the Apostle states, "Law intervened, to increase the trespass," and in Rom. 7[:9] he adds, "But when the commandment came, sin revived." For this reason he calls the law a law of death and a law of sin in Rom. 8[:2]. Indeed, in 2 Cor. 3[:6] he says, "the written code kills," which St. Augustine throughout his book, The Spirit and the Letter, understands as applying to every law, even the holiest law of God."

Man's reason looks at God and His demands and believes that God wouldn't give him something he wasn't able to perform. And so, he concludes that he must do these things primarily to be in God's good graces, yet, if he is honest with himself, he will find that the closer he comes to God's Law, the further he gets from actually fulfilling it. The more he practices righteousness, the more he actually practices wickedness. This frustrates his reason and he questions, "what must I do to be saved?"

It is here where God is finally ready to meet him, for in the end, the wretched man finally cries out, "who will deliver me from this body of death?" This is exactly were God wants everyone of us, for the wretched man in the very next sentence finally sees the despair of his own works and clings to the One who has fulfilled the Law in his place. He states in verse 25, "I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord", for it is by Him and Him alone that we are righteous in the eyes of our God. It is in him and him alone that we have the life everlasting.

Are you tired of the weight of God's Law on your shoulders? Does it seem that no matter how hard you try to keep it, that you were always worse off then when you started? If you are tired, then repent, for God longs to forgive us our iniquities! Let Christ take the weight of your sin from off of you, and put on his robe of righteousness, for "his yoke is easy, and his burden is light", so "come to Him, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest."