To give a short definition of a Christian: A Christian is not somebody who chalks sin, because of his faith in Christ. This doctrine brings comfort to consciences in serious trouble. When a person is a Christian he is above Law and sin. When the Law accuses him, and sin wants to drive the wits out of him, a Christian looks to Christ. A Christian is free. He has no master except Christ. A Christian is greater than the whole world.
The Law is a good thing. But when the discussion is about justification, there is no time to drag in the Law. When we discuss justification we ought to speak of Christ and the benefits He has brought us.
Christ is no sheriff. He is, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29 KJV)
By the grace of God we know that we are justified through faith in Christ alone. We do not mingle Law and Grace, faith and works. We keep them far apart. Let every true Christian mark the distinction between Law and Grace, and mark it well.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal. 2:19-21 NIV)
Who is this, “me”?
I, wretched and damnable sinner, dearly beloved of the Son of God; if I could by work or merit love the Son of God and come to Him, why should He have sacrificed Himself for me?
If I, a condemned sinner, could have been purchased and redeemed by any other price, why should the Son of God have given Himself for me? Just because there was no other price in heaven and on earth big and good enough, was it necessary for the Son of God to be delivered for me. This He did out of His great love for me, for the Apostle says, “Who loved me.”
Did the Law ever love me?
Did the Law ever sacrifice itself for me?
Did the Law ever die for me?
On the contrary, it accuses me, it frightens me; it drives me crazy. Somebody else saved me from the Law, from sin and death unto eternal life. That “Somebody” is the Son of God, to whom be praise and glory forever.
For Christ is joy and sweetness to a broken heart. Christ is a lover of poor sinners, and such a lover that He gave Himself for us. Now if this is true, and it is true, then are we never justified by our own righteousness?
Read the words “me” and “for me” with great emphasis.
Print this “me” with capital letters in your heart, and do not ever doubt that you belong to the number of those who are meant by this “me.” Christ did not only love Peter and Paul. The same love He felt for them He feels for us. If we cannot deny that we are sinners, we cannot deny that Christ died for our sins.
This article is an excerpt from Galatians: Selections from Martin Luther’s Commentary, which seeks to take the intimidating work of Luther and make it accessible for the everyday person. It is available as a beautiful print book or a free digital copy.
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