Saturday, January 27, 2018

Get Ready for Grace

"The Diatribe constantly imagines a man who either can do what he is commanded, or at any rate knows that he cannot. But such a man is nowhere to be found. If there were such, then, in truth, either the commanding of impossibilities would be absurd, or the Spirit of Christ would be in vain. But the Scripture sets before us a man who is not only bound, wretched, captive, sick and dead, but who, through the operation of Satan his lord, adds to his other miseries that of blindness, so that he believes himself to be free, happy, possessed of liberty and ability, whole and alive. Satan knows that if men knew their own misery he could keep no man in his kingdom; God could not fail at once to pity and succour wretchedness that knew itself and cried to Him, for God is proclaimed with mighty praise throughout the Scripture as being near the broken-hearted. Thus Isaiah 61 bears witness that Christ was sent 'to preach the gospel to the poor, and to heal the broken-hearted'. Hence, the work of Satan is to hold men so that they do not recognize their wretchedness, but presume that they can do everything that is stated. But the work of Moses the lawgiver is the opposite of this--namely, through the law to lay open to man his own wretchedness so that, by thus breaking him down, and confounding him in his self-knowledge, he may make him ready for grace, and send him to Christ to be saved. Therefore, the function performed by the law is nothing to laugh at, but is most emphatically serious and necessary." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, the Revell editon, pages 161-162

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