"Sin, as Luther came to understand it, is “radical,” and like a twisted root it perverts everything that flows from it. Sin is, at its heart, an attempt to establish our own righteousness before God. As Luther writes in his justification for this thesis, “To trust in works, which one ought to do in fear, is equivalent to giving oneself the honor and taking it from God, to whom fear is due in connection with every work. But this is completely wrong, namely to please oneself, to enjoy oneself in one’s works, and toadore oneself as an idol.”
The problem is not that we sin; it is that we are sinners, that we are corrupted through and through with selfishness and pride. Even when we do things that might be perceived by the world as ethical and right, we do them in sin, in a sinful bid to justify ourselves before God. The righteous can only act righteously by depending upon God and remaining constantly aware that their own actions do not make them righteous, but they are righteous solely through God’s grace in Christ.Yet this will not be the end of the story. Although Luther came to a profound sense of sin, his sense of God’s grace, not coincidentally, was equally profound."
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Radical Problem, Radical Solution
Below is more great stuff on Luther and his radical message of grace from Timothy Dalrymple's series at Parchment and Pen. (The picture to the right is entitled "Lord Save Me" based on the Gospel story of Peter and Jesus walking on the water. As the quote below shows, we really do need Jesus to save us!)