"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 4

Today we look at Luther's second thesis of the Heidelberg Disputation, it states:

Thesis 2:

"Much less can human works which are done over and over again with the aid of natural precepts, so to speak, lead to that end."

What does this mean? Well, in reference to the first thesis, which states: "The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.", we find that when man tries to perform perfect righteousness according to the Law of God, he only awakens an evil desire within himself, and is thus incapable of conforming to the demands of the Law. So, what this thesis is in reference to is the works of men apart from the Law.

In Romans 2:14,15; it states:

"...for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them..."

Therefore, the effect on man is essentially the same in man-made laws as it is in the Law of God, for these man-made works did not appear from nothing, there is a place they derive themselves, namely, the Law written on their heart. And, hearkening back to the first thesis, if a man can no more do the Law of God without help from his Lord because of the awakening evil desire within him made manifest by the Law, how can he possibly look within himself for any hope of doing the same by man-made works? This is the exact sentiment that Luther states in his proof of this thesis:

"Since the law of God, which is holy and unstained, true, just, etc. is given man by God as an aid beyond his natural powers to enlighten him and move him to do the good, and nevertheless the opposite takes place, namely, that he becomes more wicked, how can he, left to his own power and without such aid, be induced to do good? If a person does not do good with help from without, he will do even less by his own strength. Therefore the Apostle, in Rom. 3[:10-12], calls all persons corrupt and impotent who neither understand nor seek God, for all, he says, have gone astray."

So, what we find after the first two theses is that man, whether he attempts to perform works within the Law, or without, that his actions are nevertheless still under the wrath of God. Furthermore, since these man-made works find their ground in the Law written on our hearts, the attempt of performing them with hopeful accordance in righteousness will still awaken an evil desire apart from the Law anyway. If we were to live in righteousness, the only pure way to do it would be to live by the Law of God, if we are incapable of doing that by nature, how can we possibly take comfort in any good works we do apart from the Law?

If we put our trust and faith in ourselves and what we are capable of, then we are building upon a foundation of sand. Our castle will fall, and our fort will be overtaken. The works we perform are never good enough for God, and even though we may believe they are, we are merely appreciating our works as a blind person would appreciate the Sunset, in short, it can't be done. If we could actually see what our works looked like from God's perspective, we would see them as the prophet describes them in Isa. 64:6:

"But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..."

So, let's set aside our "filthy rags", and put on Christ's robe of righteousness. It is in him that we shine radiantly before the eyes of our Lord, and not in the paltry attire we're accustomed to. If you quietly take comfort when examining yourself in the things of your heart, your temperament, your way of life, then you are not in the faith, for you are not resting your conscience on the true source of our sinlessness which is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you are this person, then repent, for God longs to forgive us our iniquities, and then follow Christ, the sole author and perfecter of our faith.