Luther: Since No One Does So

When Paul says: “He who does them, etc.,” he is comparing the righteousness of the Law and that of faith, as he also does in Romans 10:5 ff. It is as though he were saying: “It would indeed be fine if someone kept the Law.” But since no one does so, we must take refuge in Christ, who was put under the Law to redeem those who were under the Law (Gal. 4:4). Believing in Him, we receive the Holy Spirit and begin to keep the Law. Because of our faith in Christ what we do not keep is not imputed to us. But in the life to come believing will cease, and there will be a correct and perfect keeping and loving. For when faith ceases, it will be replaced by glory, by means of which we shall see God as He is (1 John 3:2). There will be a true and perfect knowledge of God, a right reason, and a good will, …heavenly, divine, and eternal. Meanwhile we must persevere here in faith that has the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of righteousness through Christ. Therefore no legalist keeps the Law. Since he is without faith, he is under a curse.” Thus Paul clearly distinguishes the worker of the Law from the man of faith. He is not speaking here about the believing doer of the Law; he is speaking about the doer of the Law who does not have the forgiveness of sins through Christ but wants to be justified solely through the Law.

Martin Luther | Luther’s Works, Vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 26 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 274.


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