2 comments on “Luther on Faith Without Works

  1. “There are commandments in the Gospel, but they are not the Gospel but expositions of the law, and they depend on the Gospel.”

    Would you please expound a little on the above statement?

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  2. There is a sense in which the entire Bible is “the gospel.” It is the divinely revealed Truth concerning the redemption of mankind in Christ. I would assume this is the sense in which Luther is using the word in the first part of the sentence, “There are commandments in the Gospel…” In other words, he is simply saying Scripture does indeed includes commands for us to follow in our daily lives.

    The rest of the sentence uses the word ‘gospel’ in a more specific sense, particularly referencing those propositions of Scripture which tell of Christ’s work on our behalf. These “good news” (gospel) statements are to be sharply distinguished from “law” passages – any and all commands given throughout Scripture. This is what is known as the “law/gospel distinction,” and it is not only one of the hallmarks of Luther’s entire interpretive system, it is indispensable for a proper understanding of our salvation (and all of Scripture).

    One might paraphrase Luther’s sentence by saying, “There are commandments in Scripture, but they are not good news, but rather examples of rules for us to follow, and they are only of good use after we have been united to Christ through faith in the good news of his death and resurrection.

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