From Martin Luther’s “A Brief Introduction on What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels”

Posted on Posted in Theology

“The gospel is a story about Christ, God’s and David’s Son, who died and was raised and is established as Lord. This is the gospel in a nutshell. Just as there is no more than one Christ, so there is and may be no more than one gospel…

“The chief article and foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and that is your own. This means that when you see or hear of Christ doing or suffering something, you do not doubt that Christ himself, with his deeds and suffering, belongs to you. On this you may depend as surely as if you had done it yourself; indeed as if you were Christ himself.

“See, this is what it means to have a proper grasp of the gospel, that is, of the overwhelming goodness of God, which neither prophet, nor apostle, nor angel was ever able fully to express, and which no heart could adequately fathom or marvel at. This is the great fire of the love of God for us, whereby the heart and conscience become happy, secure, and content…

“Now when you have Christ as the foundation and chief blessing of your salvation, then the other part follows: that you take him as your example, giving yourself in service to your neighbor just as yousee that Christ has given himself for you. See, there faith and love move forward, God’s commandment is fulfilled, and a person is happy and fearless to do and to suffer all things.

“Therefore make note of this, that Christ as a gift nourishes your faith and makes you a Christian. But Christ as an example exercises your works. These do not make you a Christian. Actually they come forth from you because you have already become a Christian. As widely as gift differs from an example, so widely does faith differ from works, for faith possesses nothing of its own, only the deeds and life of Christ. Works have something of your own in them, yet they should not belong to you but to your neighbor.”

(LW 35:118-120)

One thought on “From Martin Luther’s “A Brief Introduction on What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels”

  1. I hope that the site will remain active after you get to Rome, as I am leaving for a brief vacation south of Naples. Really, I want to miss the last week of electioneering in the U.S. Too long and too intense. This has been fascinating for me, as we were married in the Lutheran Church in 1960-a Christian Scientist and a Catholic. My wife’s relatives stood outside & listened to the ceremony-they were concerned to cross the threshold of the church.

    Ciao bella & bello.

    Jim Abbott

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *