Luther: Christ Is Our Comfort In The Struggle With Sin

With these words, then, Paul wants to indicate the weakness there still is in the pious, as in Rom. 8:26: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” For because the awareness of the opposite is so strong in us, that is, because we are more aware of the wrath of God than of His favor toward us, therefore the Holy Spirit is sent into our hearts. He does not whisper and does not pray but cries very loudly: “Abba! Father!” and intercedes for us, in accordance with the will of God, with sighs too deep for words. How? In deep terrors and conflicts of conscience we do indeed take hold of Christ and believe that He is our Savior. But then the Law terrifies us most, and sin disturbs us. In addition, the devil attacks us with all his stratagems and his fiery darts (Eph. 6:16), trying with all his might to snatch Christ away from us and to rob us of all comfort. Then there is nothing to keep us from succumbing and despairing, for then we are the bruised reed and the dimly burning wick (Is. 42:3). Meanwhile, however, the Holy Spirit is helping us in our weakness and interceding for us with sighs too deep for words (Rom. 8:26), and He is bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). Thus the mind is strengthened amid these terrors; it sighs to its Savior and High Priest, Jesus Christ; it overcomes the weakness of the flesh, regains its comfort, and says: “Abba! Father!” This sighing, of which we are hardly aware, Paul calls a cry and a sigh too deep for words—a sigh that fills heaven and earth. He also calls it a cry and a sigh of the Spirit, because when we are weak and tempted, then the Spirit sets up this cry in our heart.

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), 381-82.


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Posted by Tony Phelps | Thursday, February 15, 2024 | Categorized HeidelQuotes, Martin Luther, Scripture | 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»


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