Meditation on Romans 1:17 “ For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith .’”
Began to understand the righteousness of faith is a gift of God by faith: “ the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live .’”
“Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me. Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory. I also found in other terms an analogy, as, the work of God, that is, what God does in us, the power of God…”
“…with which he makes us strong, the wisdom of God, with which he makes us wise, the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God. And I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word ‘righteousness of God.’ Thus that place in Paul was for me truly the gate of paradise .”
“ Therefore I ask by the mercy of God, may your most serene majesty, most illustrious lordships, or anyone at all who is able, either high or low, bear witness, expose my errors, overthrowing them by the writings of the prophets and the evangelists. Once I have been taught I shall be quite ready to renounce every error, and I shall be the first to cast my books in the fire .”
“… Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. God help me !”
Charles V wrote, “ It is certain that a single friar errs in his opinion which is against all of Christendom and according to which all of Christianity will be and will always have been in error both in the past thousand years and even more in the present .”
Charles V thought it would be shameful if in his age “ not only heresy but suspicion of heresy or decrease of the Christian religion should through our negligence dwell after us in the heart of men and our successors to our perpetual dishonor .”
Luther argued in debate at Heidelberg, “ He deserves to be called a theologian…who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross…A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing it actually is .”
Luther found his paradoxical explanation of God as revealed in and through the cross in Paul’s writings
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God . 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified , a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God . 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men . (1 Corinthians 1:18-25 )
Luther’s Theology of Glory: Trust Your Own Works
Urges people to trust themselves, to make their own efforts their security in this life and the next
Guides people to think if only they can discipline themselves properly, they would finally and ultimately please God
Teaches people to believe that what they do for God matters most in creating a spiritual life, rather than what God has done for us .
The theology of glory is a different gospel, indeed it is the polar opposite of the gospel!
Luther’s Theology of Glory: Trust Your Own Wisdom
Encourages people to rely upon their own understanding of the world as a sufficient guide for life.
Urges people to think that what the mind discovers about self, others, the world, and God can open a path to righteousness
Discuss how the theology of the cross, in Luther’s scheme of thinking, was being contradicted by the established church of his day. In other words, what made the “theology of the cross” stand apart from the “theology of glory”?
Discuss how the theology of the cross reintroduced the biblical concept of grace to the 16 th century.
For the Church : a timely, effective reminder that our hope rises from the transaction that occurred at the cross and the empty tomb
For society : the timing of his theological contribution and effort to remove church-erected obstacles to God’s grace joined to great effect with other turning points that transformed Europe’s national, economic, intellectual, and ecclesiastical life
The paradoxes found in Luther’s theology of the cross are a timeless truth of our Christian heritage. Discuss the various paradoxes that Luther presented and discuss why they still remain powerful truths today.