Are you really gonna tame this beast?

Vicious Dog by Simma_Down_Na!!

Here’s Luther’s commentary on Gal. 3:19

VERSE 19. It was added because of transgressions.


In other words, that transgressions might be recognized as such and thus increased. When sin, death, and the wrath of God are revealed to a person by the Law, he grows impatient, complains against God, and rebels. Before that he was a very holy man; he worshipped and praised God; he bowed his knees before God and gave thanks, like the Pharisee. But now that sin and death are revealed to him by the Law he wishes there were no God. The Law inspires hatred of God. Thus sin is not only revealed by the Law; sin is actually increased and magnified by the Law.

The Law is a mirror to show a person what he is like, a sinner who is guilty of death, and worthy of everlasting punishment. What is this bruising and beating by the hand of the Law to accomplish? This, that we may find the way to grace. The Law is an usher to lead the way to grace. God is the God of the humble, the miserable, the afflicted. It is His nature to exalt the humble, to comfort the sorrowing, to heal the broken-hearted, to justify the sinners, and to save the condemned. The fatuous idea that a person can be holy by himself denies God the pleasure of saving sinners. God must therefore first take the sledge-hammer of the Law in His fists and smash the beast of self-righteousness and its brood of self-confidence, self-wisdom, self-righteousness, and self-help. When the conscience has been thoroughly frightened by the Law it welcomes the Gospel of grace with its message of a Savior who came into the world, not to break the bruised reed, nor to quench the smoking flax, but to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, and to grant forgiveness of sins to all the captives.

Man’s folly, however, is so prodigious that instead of embracing the message of grace with its guarantee of the forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake, man finds himself more laws to satisfy his conscience. “If I live,” says he, “I will mend my life. I will do this, I will do that.” Man, if you don’t do the very opposite, if you don’t send Moses with the Law back to Mount Sinai and take the hand of Christ, pierced for your sins, you will never be saved.

When the Law drives you to the point of despair, let it drive you a little farther, let it drive you straight into the arms of Jesus who says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”


Thank you, brother Martin.   Thank you, St. Paul.    Thank you, Lord Jesus.



Thanks to flickr and Simma_Down_Na!!,  for the photo.


8 Responses

  1. Yeah, but…

  2. I just thought I’d add a note here;

    the Law is NOT JUST the 10 Commandments, but it is EVERY DEMAND that your existence places upon you to fulfill your humanity.

    And these Laws of God demand that all these things which we ought do, be fulfilled perfectly in all instances, and not later but when the opportunity presents itself.

    This is the demand of the Law.

    And the question is…”how are you doing?”

  3. Sorry, Pastor.

    No if’s, and’s, or “yeah, buts”…

    (Try telling that to Mr. and Mrs. Ladderclimber)

  4. But wait! There’s more! ( a lot more – but just this much more…for now)

    1] Luther’s proof, Thesis 1(commentary on Galatians):

    The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.

    This is made clear by the Apostle in his letter to the Romans (3[:21]): “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law.” St. Augustine interprets this in his book, The Spirit and the Letter (De Spiritu et Littera): “Without the law, that is, without its support.” In Rom. 5[:20] the Apostle states, “Law intervened, to increase the trespass,” and in Rom. 7[:9] he adds, “But when the commandment came, sin revived.” For this reason he calls the law a law of death and a law of sin in Rom. 8[:2]. Indeed, in 2 Cor. 3[:6] he says, “the written code kills,” which St. Augustine throughout his book, The Spirit and the Letter, understands as applying to every law, even the holiest law of God.

    Luther wrote that “the commandments show us what we ought to do but do not give us the power to do it. They are intended to teach man to know himself, that through them he may recognize his inability to do good and may despair of his own ability.” (The Freedom of a Christian, 1520; WA 31.348) In his Ninety-Five Theses, he wrote, “Through the law we have nothing except an evil conscience, a restless heart, a troubled breast because of our sins, which the law points out but does not take away. And we ourselves cannot take it away.” (WA 31.231) There are two ways in which our relationship with God is broken. The first, the more obvious, is when in our sinfulness we reject and deny God. The second, the more imperceptible, is when we accept God intellectually but in our pride strive, through our own works, toward righteousness, thus in effect placing ourselves above God.

    The law may also serve to increase sin in rebellion, in a hunger for forbidden fruit. Paul wrote, “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” (Rom. 7:5)

    “Yeah…but you just can’t live anyway you want! Blah blah blah blah and blah!”

  5. And so will you be, also, Jon!

  6. Thanks Steve….

  7. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law….
    and then it truly unfolds – Christ and the Gospel,
    that is truly what all of us need this Easter –
    blessings to all He has made free by that wonder,
    and blessings to all those still needing to see His hand – may the Law wound and break so Christ can bind and heal… In the marvel of the work of Jesus Christ, made flesh, crucified, risen, ascended and returning.

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