Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Victory Motif in Martin Luther

Luther’s teaching on Atonement belongs to the classic type. This short presentation is based on these crucial words appearing in the Lesser Catechism describing the work of Christ: “He has delivered, purchased, and won me, a lost and doomed man, from all sins, from death and the devil’s powers.” In the Greater Catechism, Luther wrote: “What is it now to be a Lord? It is this, that He has redeemed me from sin, from the devil, from death and all woe. For before, I had not yet had any Lord, nor King, but had been held captive under the devil’s power, doomed to death, ensnared in sin and blindness. . . . Now, therefore, those tyrants and gaolers are all crushed, and in their place is come Jesus Christ, a Lord of Life, righteousness, all good and holiness, and He has snatched us poor lost men from the jaws of hell, won us, made us free, and brought us back to the Father’s goodness and grace.”

In the Longer Commentary on Galatians we read: “For if the blessing in Christ could yield, then God Himself would have been overcome. But that is impossible. Christ, who is God’s power, righteousness, blessing, grace, and life, overcomes and carries away these monsters, sin death and curse.”

In discussing the heresy of Arius, Luther wrote: “For, by Himself to overcome the world’s sin, death, the curse, and God’s wrath, this is not the work of any created being, but of almighty God. Therefore He who of Himself overcame these must actually in His nature be God. For against these mighty powers, sin, death, and the curse, which of themselves have dominion in the world and in all creation, another and a higher power must appear, which can be none other than God.”

The final example in my short presentation comes from the third verse of A Mighty Fortress is Our God:

“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.”

A number of scholars have not only demonstrated that Luther embraced the victory motif but also that “this interpretation of atonement coheres with the total pattern of Luther’s writing.”

Copyrighted 2006


Blogger Heather_in_WI said...

Wow... great post.

Happy Reformation Day!

9:53 AM


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