What Luther Actually Said About The Moral Law

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Christians are people who never sin or feel sinful. Rather, because of their faith in Christ, God simply doesn’t attribute their sin to them. This teaching is comforting to those who have terrified consciences. For good reason, we often try to impress on people that sins are forgiven and that righteousness is attributed to believers for the sake of Christ. Similarly, Christians should not have anything to do with the law or with sin. To the extent we are Christians, we stand above the law and sin. Christ is the Lord of the law. He is present and locked in our hearts, just as a precious stone is firmly mounted in a ring. When the law accuses us and sin terrifies us, all we need to do is look to Christ. When we have taken hold of him in faith, we have the victor over the law, sin, death, and the devil with us. Because Christ rules over all of these, we won’t be harmed. That’s why a Christian, correctly defined, is free from all laws and subject to no one, either inwardly or outwardly. But notice that I said, “to the extent we are Christians,” not just to the extent we are human and have consciences. We are free to the extent we have consciences that are transformed and made rich through faith. This faith is a great and immeasurable treasure—as Paul says, an “indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15), a gift that cannot be raised high enough or praised enough. It makes us children and heirs of God.

Martin Luther | Faith Alone. Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 201.


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Posted by Tony Phelps | Monday, October 16, 2023 | Categorized HeidelQuotes, Martin Luther, Moral Law | Tagged Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Phelps

Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children. Meet all the Heidelberg contributors»

3 comments

  1. “Blessed is the man…his delight is in the law of the Lord; and on his law he meditates day and night.”

    to the extent we are Christians, we can delight in the good and wise law of the Lord

    • Yes, do we not profess to love the moral law and aren’t we happy to be “under” it? At the Jerusalem Council the “yoke” that was rejected was the fulfilled ceremonial law; the moral law was affirmed.

    • Brandon and David,

      Amen.

      This is not all Luther said about the moral law. He affirmed the abiding validity of the moral law and combatted the Antinomians, who denied it. It is my understanding that it was he who gave us the word antinomian.

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