26 August 2011

The Law and the Conscience

Luther, in the preface to his 1591 commentary on Galatians:
For a Christian the law ought to have dominion only over the flesh. When it is so, the law is kept within bounds. But if it presumes to creep into your conscience and tries to reign there, you must make the right distinction. Give no more to the law than is right, but say,

'You want to climb up into the kingdom of my conscience, do you, Law? You want to reign over it and reprove sin and take away the joy I have by faith in Christ and drive me to desperation? Keep within your bounds, and exercise your power over the flesh, but do not touch my conscience. By the Gospel I am called to share righteousness and everlasting life. I am called to Christ's kingdom, where my conscience is at rest and there is no law, but rather forgiveness of sins, peace, quietness, joy, health, and everlasting life. Do not trouble me in these matters, for I will not let an intolerant tyrant like you reign in my conscience, which is the temple of Christ, the Son of God. He is the King of righteousness and peace, my sweet Savior and Mediator; he will keep my conscience joyful and quiet in the sound, pure doctrine of the Gospel and in the knowledge of Christian and heavenly righteousness.'

When I have this righteousness reigning fertile in my heart, I descend from heaven like the rain that makes the earth fertile. That is to say, I come out into another kingdom, and I do good works whenever I have a chance.
--Martin Luther, Galatians (Crossway, 1998), xxii

1 comment:

Gary Horn said...

Awesome. Liberating. Life-giving. Thanks!