Luther on Psalm 51:9

This same petition proves that the doctrine of justification is the kind of thing that can never be learned completely.  Therefore it is true that those who have persuaded themselves that they know it fully have not even begun to learn.

Because every day new struggles arise from Satan and our flesh or the world or our conscience, prompting us to despair, wrath, lust, and other vices, how is it possible for this weakness of ours not to keep falling or breaking?  Then, too, how many concerns arise in this life that gradually make us forget this gladness?  Hence it is supremely necessary that we ask God to pour or sprinkle upon us this hearing of joy so that we are not covered with the sadness that the feeling of sin brings on.”

Luther on Psalm 51:8

Only hearing brings joy.

This is the only way for the heart to find peace before God.  Everything else that it can undertake leaves doubt in the mind…  the forgiveness of sins becomes actual not through works but through hearing…

On this do I build, that God says to me through the brother: ‘I absolve you in the name and merit of Christ.’  I believe this word is true, nor will my faith fail me.

It is ‘built on the rock of the words of the Son of God,’ who cannot lie because He is the Truth.  In this way your minds are filled with joy and the true gladness of the Holy Spirit, which consits wholly in the certainty of the Word in hearing.”

LW Vol. 12 

Luther on Psalm 51:7

“It is He [Jesus] who bore the sins of the world.  This is the one satisfaction; this is the one washing, by which we are saved.  And the basis of salvation is that when you hear this, you should not be unbelieving toward divine revelation but believe it.  The fact that a new life should follow does not belong to satisfaction, but to the obedience you owe.  Because the Holy Spirit arouses this in us, we cannot claim any merit of ours from it to reconcile God and to expiate sins which, we are taught, have already been expiated through Jesus Christ.

Only that satisfaction is true which is called and is satisfaction of faith, namely, that Christ Jesus bore your sins.

If this satisfaction stands alone and pure without your flesh, then you may zealously exercise charity, serve your calling, and do everything that the Word of God permits you to undertake.  This obedience is pleasing and acceptable to God because it is done with the right aim, namely, of obeying God and not setting up your own satisfaction.

LW Vol. 12 

 

 

Luther on Psalm 51:5

Psalm 51:5   5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

“The human seed, this mass from which I was formed, is totally corrupt with faults and sins.  The material itself is faulty.  The clay, so to speak, out of which this vessel began to be formed is damnable…

So we are not sinners because we commit this or that sin, but we commit them because we are sinners first.

That is, a bad tree and bad seed also bring forth bad fruit, and from a bad root only a bad tree can grow…”

LW Vol. 12 

Luther on Psalm 51:4

Psalm 51:4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

“Our whole nature is punishable by death and sin…  Thus the Word of God–that is, both the Law and the Gospel, or promise–proves with clear and certain arguments that we are sinners and are saved by grace alone.  If God promises life, it follows that we are under death.  If He promises forgiveness of sins, it follows that sins dominate and possess us…  Both the threats and the promises all show the same thing…

When sins are thus revealed by the Word, two different kinds of men manifest themselves.  One kin justifies God and by a humble confession agrees to His denunciation of sin; the other kind condemns God and call Him a liar when He denounces sin…

Believe that you are a sinner, whom God wants to have as His son if you confess that you are lost.

With this confession, by which you confound yourself and open your wounds to the physician, you glorify God and provoke Him to His truly divine work of healing your sick mind like a physician…

Whoever confesses this way that he has sinned against God alone, has a God who justifies.

LW Vol. 12 

 

 

Luther on Psalm 51:3

Psalm 51:3  3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

“God is the God of the humble, the afflicted, and the poor who acknowledge that they are sinners and fear God in such a way that they hope still more in His mercy…  If, therefore, you acknowledge that you have sin, if you tremble, if you are troubled by a feeling of God’s wrath and by horror of God’s judgment and of hell, then have confidence.  You are the one with whom God wants to speak, to whom God wants to show His mercy, and whom God wants to save.”

LW Vol. 12