Saturday, December 22, 2007

Martin Luther--Justifying Faith and Union with Christ

Here is what the good Doctor said:

..[F]aith does not merely mean that the soul realizes that the divine word is full of grace, free and holy; it also unites the soul with Christ, as a bride is united with her bridegroom. From such a marriage, as St. Paul says, it follows that Christ and the soul become one body, so that they hold all things in common, whether for better or worse. This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul; and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vice and sin; these now belong to Christ. Here we have a happy exchange and struggle. Christ is God and human being, who has never sinned and who's holiness is unconquerable, eternal and almighty. So he makes the sin of the living soul his own through its wedding ring, which is faith, and acts as if he had done it himself, so that sin could be swallowed up in him. For his unconquerable righteousness is too strong for all sin, so that it is made single and free from all its sins on account of its pledge, that is its faith, and can turn to the eternal righteousness of its bridegroom, Christ. Now is this not a happy business? Christ, the rich, noble, holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil, and bestows all his goodness upon her! It is no longer possible for sin to overwhelm her, for she is now found in Christ and is swallowed up by him, so that she possesses a rich righteousness in her bridegroom.
(The Christian Theology Reader--Alister McGrath, page 229, Cited Luther's Works 25.26-26.9)

I really like the images Luther uses here. The union between the believer and Christ swallows up sin, not only because Christ's righteousness is applied to the believer in the "happy exchange", but because Christ's omnipotent righteousness swallows up sin.


1 comment:

Franklin Morais said...

Thank you so much. I am trying to research what was the full content of Martin Luther's thoughts on union with Christ.

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