Dead to the Law – by Martin Luther
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Jan 27, 2016 2340
For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. – Gal 2:19.
Therefore when my conscience hurts with remorse and sin’s sting, I fix my eyes on Jesus, that bronze serpent hanging from the cross. There I find the sin that opposes my sin, which accuses and devours me. This other sin is the flesh of Christ that takes away the sin of the world; it is powerful, it condemns and devours my sin. Thus my sin is condemned by another sin, that is, Christ crucified: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In the same way I find in my flesh a death that afflicts and kills me. But in me I have a death that is contrary to that death. It is the death of death, since this death crucifies and devours my death!
These are not the achievements of the law or its works, but those of Christ crucified. On His shoulders were placed all of humanity’s evil, the law, sin, death, the devil, and hell. All of these find their death in Him because by His death He has put them all to death! However we need to receive this benefit of Christ without a vacillating faith. Because just as we are not offered the law nor any of its works, but Christ alone, nothing else is required of us but faith alone. By this law we grasp on to Christ and believe that our sins and our death have been condemned and abolished in the sin and in the death of Christ.
Therefore we have stronger arguments that accurately conclude that justification comes through faith alone. How could it be possible for the law and its works to contribute to justification seeing how passionately Paul counters against the law and works? For he clearly says that we should be dead to the law if we are to live before God. But if were dead to the law, and the law is dead to us, we have nothing at all to do with the law. How then could it contribute in any way to our justification? Therefore we are compelled to say that we are justified by grace alone, or by faith in Christ alone without the law and its works.
– From Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (1535); Translation from the Latin, Haroldo S. Camacho, Ph.D).