Luther on Psalm 51:2

Psalm 51:2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

“Once a Christian is righteous by faith and has accepted the forgiveness of sins, he should not be so smug, as though he were pure of all sins.  For only then does he face the constant battle with the remnants of sin, from which the prophet here wants to be cleansed.

He is righteous and holy by an alien or foreign holiness

that is, he is righteous by the mercy and grace of God.  This mercy and grace is not something human; it is not some sort of disposition or quality of the heart.  It is a divine blessing, given us through the true knowledge of the Gospel, when we know or believe that our sin has been forgiven us through the grace and merit of Christ and when we hope for steadfast love and abundant mercy for Christ’s sake…

It consists completely in the indulgence of another and is a pure gift of God, who shows mercy and favor for Christ’s sake…

Therefore, the Christian is not formally righteous, he is not righteous according to substance or quality…  He is righteous according to his relationship to something: namely, only in respect to divine grace and the free forgiveness of sins…”

LW Vol. 12 

Taking a Break from the Blog

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Because I will be packing up and moving in the next couple weeks (I’ve accepted a call to be Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sarver, PA.  See pic), this will be my last post until sometime in August.  Hope you enjoy!

“A man can with confidence boast in Christ and say: ‘Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, his suffering and dying, mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, suffered, and died as he did…’  Everything which Christ has is ours, graciously bestowed on us unworthy men out of God’s sheer mercy, although we have rather deserved wrath and condemnation, and hell also…  Through faith in Christ… [his] righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that he has become ours; rather, he himself becomes ours…  This is an infinite righteousness, and one that swallows up all sins in a moment, for it is impossible that sin should exist in Christ.”

Martin Luther “Two Kinds of Righteousness

Lust and Christ’s Active Obedience

This spring, I’m taking St. Paul’s High School students through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  A couple weeks ago we came across this doozy:

Matthew 5:27-28  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Here Jesus up’s the ante and shows us the true intent of God’s law and it’s terrifying.  Purity rings, “TV Guardian,” and Ted Mosby’s “Sensory Deprivator 5000”  are of no help here because Jesus is dealing with our hearts. Continue reading

John Calvin on the Cross

“The cross was accursed, not only in human opinion but by decree of God’s law [Deut. 21:23].  Hence, when Christ hanged upon the cross, he makes himself subject to the curse.  It had to happen in this way in order that the whole curse–which on account of our sins awaited us, or rather lay upon us–might be lifted from us, while it was transferred to him…  The Son of God, utterly clean of all fault, nevertheless took upon himself the shame and reproach of our iniquities, and in return clothed us with his purity…  Hence faith apprehends an acquittal in the condemnation of Christ, a blessing in his curse.”

John Calvin “Institutes of the Christian Religion” II.XVI.6

Elyse Fitzpatrick Quote

“Remember, his [God’s] love came to us when we were his enemies.  Why would he leave us now that we’re his beloved children?  When your heart accuses you and says, ‘You’re so worthless.  Look at the way you’ve failed him again!”  you can confidently answer, “It is true that on my own I am worthless, but he has made me completely righteous in his Son.  He has declared that he loves me and his love is now the most important thing about me.  I believe that he won’t stop loving me until he stops loving his own Son.  I can begin to serve him again because I know he is here, with me, sustaining me and granting me his grace.”

Elyse Fitzpatrick “Because He Loves Me