Luther: Christ Was Innocent For Us

And so this text [Gal. 3:13] is clear, that all men, even the apostles or prophets or patriarchs, would have remained under the curse if Christ had not put Himself in opposition to sin, death, the curse of the Law, and the wrath and judgment of God, and if He had not overcome them in His own body; for those savage monsters could not be overcome by any human power. Now Christ is not the Law, He is not a work of the Law, He is not an “elicited act”; but He is a divine and human Person who took sin, the condemnation of the Law, and death upon Himself, not for Himself but for us. Therefore the whole emphasis is on the phrase ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν [for us]. Therefore we should not imagine Christ as an innocent and private person who is holy and righteous only for Himself; this is what the sophists and nearly all the fathers, Jerome and others, have done. It is, of course, true that Christ is the purest of persons; but this is not the place to stop. For you do not yet have Christ, even though you know that He is God and man. You truly have Him only when you believe that this altogether pure and innocent Person has been granted to you by the Father as your High Priest and Redeemer, yes, as your Slave. Putting off His innocence and holiness and putting on your sinful person, He bore your sin, death, and curse; He became a sacrifice and a curse for you, in order thus to set you free from the curse of 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), 287–88.


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Posted by Tony Phelps | Saturday, November 4, 2023 | Categorized HeidelQuotes, Martin Luther, Redemption | 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»

One comment

  1. Luther has a way of explaining the gospel that cuts to the heart. No wonder John Bunyan valued Luther’s lectures on the Galatians second only to the Bible.

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