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 

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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