Friday, August 14, 2015

A Voice from the Past - Luther

(While I have read him in the past, I was unable to find a quote from Claudius of Turin readily available. I have therefore substituted another commentator on the book of Galatians who emphasized grace.)

It was certainly an outstanding ground for boasting that Abraham accepted circumcision when God commanded it, that he was provided with brilliant virtues, and that in everything was obedient to God. Thus it is a laudable and happy thing to imitate the example of Christ in His deeds, to love ones neighbors, to do good to those who deserve evil, to pray for one's enemies, and to bear with patience the ingratitude of those who requite good with evil. But none of this contributes to righteousness in the sight of God. The outstanding good deeds of Abraham did not help him to be pronounced righteous in the sight of God; in the same way imitation of the example of Christ does not make us righteous in the sight of God. For us to be righteous in the sight of God a price far higher than human righteousness or the righteousness of the Law is required. Here we must have Christ to bless and save us, just as Abraham had Him as his Blesser and Savior. How? Not through works but through faith.

Martin Luther, 1483-1546, Commentary on Galatians (1535), Chapter 3 Verse 9, (translated and edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Luther's Works, Concordia Publishing House, Vol. 26, p. 247)

What difference does it make that our righteousness is not based on good works? What then is the place of good works?


  1. Our external work seems to be a reflection of the inner work of God.