You Do Not Know God Without Suffering

This extended quote picks up a few points into Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, enjoy the suffering…

In case one is wondering, I highly recommend this book as well as Reeves other book, The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation. It is the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation… for God’s sake learn about it.


21. The theologian of glory says bad is good and good is bad. The theologian of the cross calls them by their proper name.

This is really quite clear, for as long as a man does not know Christ he does not know God as hidden in sufferings. Such a man, therefore, prefers works to sufferings, and glory to a cross: he prefers powers to weakness, wisdom to foolishness…. These are they the Apostle calls enemies of the cross of Christ. Quite clearly, because they hate the cross and sufferings and certainly love works and the glory that goes with them. And thus they say that the good of the cross is evil, and call the evil of works good. But God is not to be found except in sufferings and in the cross as has been stated already…. It is impossible for a man not to be inflated by his own good works unless the experience of suffering and evil, having previously taken all the spirit out of him and broken him, has taught him that he is nothing and his works are not his own but God’s.

22. The sort of wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in known good works simply inflates a man, and ren­ders him both blind and hard.

This has been said already. For since it is clear that they know nothing about the cross and even hate it, then of ne­cessity they love the opposite, that is wisdom, glory, power and the like….

He who wishes to become wise should not go forward and seek wisdom but should become a fool, go back and seek foolishness. Thus, he who wants to become powerful and famous, to have a good time and enjoy all the good things of life, let him flee from power, fame, enjoyment and a sufficiency of everything and not seek after them. This is the wisdom we are talking about, the wisdom which is foolishness to the world.

The question Luther is addressing is this: How can we know God? There are some visible things humanity could look at: cre­ation, spiritual experiences, miracles. But Luther says that they do not reveal God. Or, rather, they reveal something of God, but it is the kind of knowledge that puffs people up. As a result, people never get beyond their pride to know the real God. This knowledge could “never be enough for a man, nor could it benefit him” (20). People like this think they have knowledge, but they do not—they are fools.

Is God then unknowable? If we cannot know him through what is visible, then can we know him at all? Are we left trying to know God through what is invisible? That is not very prom­ising, because we cannot see it! Luther’s answer is this: God is known through what is contrary. He is known in a hidden way. God’s invisible attributes are revealed in suffering and the cross: glory in shame, wisdom in folly, power in weakness, victory in defeat. God is known through the message of the cross.

So what Luther calls theologia crucis, “the theology of the cross,” is not so much an understanding of how the cross saves us (though, of course, that mattered to Luther). Even more, it is an approach to knowing God. It claims that knowing him starts with the cross. And this starting point turns all our notions of God and how he can be known upside down.

The theology of the cross stems from Luther’s understanding of righteousness and justification. Luther’s great realization was that God justified sinners. God declares to be just those who are unjust. Luther realized that if that is so, human notions of justice can never lead us to understand God’s justice. God’s justice is revealed in the opposite of justice: in the justification of the unjust. Alister McGrath says:

Luther’s discovery of the “wonderful new definition of righteousness” is essentially programmatic, and capable of being applied to other divine attributes… leading ultimately to the theologia crucis, the “theology of the cross”….

…For Luther, the “righteousness of God” is revealed exclusively in the cross, contradicting human preconcep­tions and expectations of the form that revelation should take.

If knowledge of God could be obtained from what is vis­ible (creation, spiritual experiences, miracles), it would lead to pride. Imagine if we knew God through creation. The people who knew him best would be those with the brains to under­stand the science of the universe. Or imagine we knew God through spiritual experience. The people who knew God would be those wealthy enough to spend time in contemplation. Peo­ple would be able to say, “I know God through my intelligence or my spirituality or my morality or my power.” It would lead to pride, and this pride would then obscure the glory and grace of God.

But God determined that he would be known through suf­fering so that he would be hidden from all those who exalt themselves. Here Luther is echoing the words of Jesus in Mat­thew 11:25-26: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”

The opposite of the theology of the cross are theologies of glory. The theologians of glory pursue wisdom, experience, and miracles and say that suffering is bad. But the theologian of the cross values suffering as that through which God is re­vealed. Knowledge of God is not found through human wis­dom, human powers, or human achievements. It is found in the foolishness of the cross.

The religious leaders at the cross are like theologians of glory. They think God will reveal himself in a powerful act in which Jesus comes down from the cross (Mark 15:29-32). But by faith the centurion sees God revealed in the suffering and abandonment of Jesus (Mark 15:39).

Luther talks about God’s “alien work,” opus alienum, his actions which are alien to his nature, but by which he achieves his “proper work,” opus proprium. Sometimes God assaults us in order to break us. In this light, suffering can be seen as a gracious divine gift.

Only someone who has had “all the spirit [taken] out of him and [been] broken” can know God. Often Luther is translated as saying that “humility” is the precondition for knowing God. But the word is really “humiliation.” Only someone who is humiliated before God can truly know him. In other words, Luther is not commending a certain type of piety that paves the way to a better understanding of God. He is saying that we have to come to the end of ourselves before we accept God’s gracious revelation. In another context Luther gave this advice to those who aspired to study theology:

I want you to know how to study theology in the right way. I have practiced this method myself. . . . The method of which I am speaking is the one which the holy king David teaches in Psalm 119. . . . Here you will find three rules. They are frequently proposed throughout the psalm and run thus: oratio, meditatio, tentatio [prayer, meditation, trials].

Trials are a key way in which we learn the truth about God. Luther had in mind verses like these:

Before I was afflicted I went astray,

but now I keep your word. (Ps. 119:67)

It is good for me that I was afflicted,

that I might learn your statutes. (Ps. 119:71)

I know, 0 LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. (Ps. 119:75)

It is often trials that move knowledge from our heads and embed it in our hearts.

Luther was skeptical about the value of philosophy in the­ology. “Theology is heaven, yes even the kingdom of heaven; man however is earth and his speculations are smoke.” Luther, never knowingly understated, described “reason” as the Devil’s whore, a beast and the enemy of God. In fact Luther valued reason in matters of human society. He also valued reason as a tool to order biblical material. But we cannot discover the truth about God through human reason. Quite the opposite—reason leads us astray because the God revealed in the cross is contrary to human expectations.

Instead, to recognize God in the absence of God, to recog­nize victory in defeat, to recognize glory in shame requires faith. God is known only by faith. And because knowing him requires faith, this is an act of grace.

So God can be known only by those to whom he gives faith. Salvation is by grace alone. We are used to that idea. But it is the same for our knowledge of God. It is not just our salvation that is by faith alone and grace alone. We do not contribute to our knowledge of God. It is all God’s doing. Our knowledge of God is by grace alone. You do not know God because you were cleverer than other people or have greater spiritual insight or spend more time in contemplation. You know God because he has graciously revealed himself to you in the message of the cross. It is an act of grace. God reveals himself in a hidden way in order to safeguard the graciousness of revelation.

So the cross subverts all human notions of glory. The mes­sage we proclaim—the message of Christ crucified—is foolish­ness and weakness in the sight of the world. This is Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians. Indeed, in many ways Luther’s theology of the cross often feels like an extended meditation of 1 Corinthians 1. In 1:23-25 we read:

We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

And with this foolish, weak message of the cross goes a foolish, weak community of the cross.

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the pres­ence of God. (1:27-29)

So the cross leaves no scope for human boasting. Instead our one boast is in Christ Jesus, “who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Therefore, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1:30-31).

Let us summarize the key features of Luther’s theology of the cross [McGrath again]:

[…..]

5. God is particularly known through suffering. It is not just that God can be known through suffering, but that he uses suffering to make himself known. And for Luther this encompasses both the sufferings of Christ and the suffer­ings of the individual. God humiliates us so that we may know him.

Grace In The Reformation [of my heart]

When I was incarcerated, and the Lord had my time, I was reading through the Bible and a section I absolutely fell in love with was Hosea. I, like Israel, was ungrateful and unfaithful to the gift in contract that was offered to me (free) years earlier. God weighed upon me heavily by showing my infidelity to Him… my Master. My Groom. I was married to Him in Grace, and really should have become one with Him (Genesis 2:24 | Romans 6 | Hosea 1).

Revelation 19:7-9:

Let us rejoice, be glad, and give him glory,
    because the marriage of the lamb has come
        and his bride has made herself ready.
She has been given the privilege of wearing fine linen,
    dazzling and pure.”

Then the angel told me, “Write this: ‘How blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb!’”… (ISV)

But I followed my carnal nature (Romans 7:14-24), and forsook my Creator (Hosea 2 | Daniel 9:7). But in that jail cell I realized just how much He loved me. God reached down in that dark time in my life and showed me the passion He has for me (Song of Solomon 8:6-7 | Luke 15:4-7), Since God is love (1 John 4:8 | Psalm 145:8) ~and FIRST loved me~  (1 John 4:19 | John 3:16-17 | Romans 5:8), He is right to be jealous when His bride serves other God’s (Exodus 20:4-5 | 2 Corinthians 11:2). And so, He reconciled me to Himself faithfully as He promised (Hosea 3Hebrews 6:13)… for God cannot lie (Titus 1:2)… and it is because of this I grab hold of Christ, faithfully (Philippians 3:12 | Hebrews 10:23). I was still not fully in awe of Him and still had to struggle through my pride and selfishness, but because of His promise and access to His faith, I am promised completion in the race (Hebrews 12:1-3)….

Galatians 2:16-17 says,

“…yet we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for no human being will be justified by the works of the law.” (International Standard Version [ISV])

~ According to the text in the ISV, Christ’s faith — not ours — does the justifying. It is His focus of attention, not ours, that does the work. (The “onus” then is put in proper perspective.) As an example from one of my favorite verses, Philippians 1:6:

  • “I am sure of this, that He who (a) started a good work in you will (b) carry it on to completion until the (c) day of Christ Jesus.”

To be clear:

(a) HE started the Good work [salvation];
(b) He will carry it out;
(c) He will complete it.

Which is why I LOVE this excerpt about Grace in the Reformation.

  • Michael Reeves and Tim Chester, Why The Reformation Still Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2016), 84-88.

Grace in the Reformation

Luther’s Reformation message of salvation by grace alone could hardly have looked more different when compared with that old pre-Reformation teaching of his about salvation by grace. This is how he began to talk: “He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.”4 Here grace is not about God’s building on our righteous deeds or helping us to perform them. God, Luther began to see, was the one “who justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5), not one who simply recognizes and rewards those who manage to make themselves godly. God is not one who must build on our foun­dations; he creates life out of nothing. It meant that, instead of looking to God for assistance and then ultimately relying on himself, Luther was turning to rely entirely on Christ, in whom all righteousness is achieved. “The law says, ‘do this,’ and it is never done. Grace says, ‘believe in this,’ and everything is already done.”

Here Luther found a message so good it almost seemed incredible to him. It was good news for the repeated failure, news of a God who comes not to call the righteous but sinners (Matt. 9:13). Not many today find themselves wearing hair shirts and enduring all-night prayer vigils in the freezing cold to earn God’s favor. Yet deep in our psyche is the assumption that we will be more loved when (and only when) we make ourselves more attractive—both to God and to others. Into that, Luther speaks words that cut through the gloom like a glorious and utterly unexpected sunbeam:

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it…. Rather than seeking its own good, the love of God flows forth and bestows good. Therefore sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.

In Reformation thought, grace was no longer seen as being like a can of spiritual Red Bull. It was more like a marriage. In fact when Luther first sought to explain his Reformation dis­covery in detail to the world, it was the story of a wedding that framed what he said. Drawing on the romance of the lover and his beloved in Song of Solomon (especially 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his”), he told the gospel as the story of the “rich and divine bridegroom Christ” who “marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness.” At the wedding a wonderful exchange takes place whereby the king takes all the shame and debt of his bride, and the harlot receives all the wealth and royal status of her bridegroom. For Jesus and the soul that is united to him by faith, it works like this:

Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?

In the story the prostitute finds that she has been made a queen. That does not mean she always behaves as befits royalty but, however she behaves, her status is royal. She is now the queen. So it is with the believer: she remains a sinner and continues to stumble and wander, but she has the righteous status of her perfect and royal bridegroom. She is—and until death will remain—at the same time both utterly righteous (in her status before God) and a sinner (in her behavior).

That means that it is simply wrong-headed for the believer to look to her behavior as an accurate yardstick of her righ­teousness before God. Her behavior and her status are distinct.

The prostitute will grow more queenly as she lives with the king and feels the security of his love, but she will never become more the queen. Just so, the believer will grow more Christlike over time, but never more righteous. Thus, because of Christ, and not because of her performance, the sinner can know a despair-crushing confidence.

Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him. And she has that righ­teousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, “If I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his.”

For the rest of his life Luther took this message as good news that needs continually to be reapplied to the heart of the believer. From his own experience he found that we are so in­stinctively self-dependent that while we happily subscribe to salvation by grace, our minds are like rocks, drawn down by the gravitational pull of sin away from belief in grace alone. So he counseled his friend as follows:

They try to do good of themselves in order that they might stand before God clothed in their own virtues and merits. But this is impossible. Among us you were one who held to this opinion, or rather, error. So was I, and I am still fighting against the error without having con­quered it as yet.

Therefore, my dear brother, learn Christ and him cruci­fied. Learn to pray to him and, despairing of yourself, say: “Thou, Lord Jesus, art my righteousness, but I am thy sin. Thou hast taken upon thyself what is mine and hast given to me what is thine. Thou hast taken upon thyself what thou wast not and hast given to me what I was not.”

Amen!

Luther and the Virgin

A Letter from Luther. He makes me laugh every-time I read this! You have to realize how much of a shock this was back then. Luther definitely knew how to grab his audiences attention… (emphasis added):

  • Luther himself, many years after the storm of controversy had calmed down, summarized the course of events as he saw it.

It happened in 1517 that a Dominican monk named Johann Tetzel, a braggart, caused a great stir. Maximilian once sentenced him to drowning in the River Inn—presumably because of his great virtue—but Duke Frederick rescued him in Innsbruck from the punishment of being drowned. Duke Frederick reminded him of this incident when he began to denounce us Wittenbergers. Actually, he admitted it quite openly. This same Tetzel now began to peddle his indulgences. With might and main he sold grace for money as dearly or as cheaply as he could. At that time I was preacher here in the cloister and was filled as a new doctor with an ardent love for the Sacred Scriptures.

When many people from Wittenberg ran after indulgences to Jiiterborg and Zerbst, I did not yet know—as surely as my Lord Christ has redeemed me—what indulgences were, but no one else knew either. I carefully began to preach that one could do something better and more certain than to purchase indulgences. On an earlier occasion I had already preached here in the castle against indulgences, but was not very graciously received by Duke Frederick, who was fond of his collegiate church. Now, to speak about the real cause for the ‘Lutheran scandal’, at first I let everything continue its course. Then it was reported to me, however, that Tetzel was preaching some cruel and terrible propositions, such as the following:

He had grace and power from the Pope to offer forgiveness even if someone had slept with the Holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, as long as a contribution would be put into the coffer.

Furthermore, the red Cross of indulgences and the papal coat of arms on the flag in the churches was as powerful as the Cross of Christ.

Moreover, even if St Peter were here now he would have no greater grace or power than he had.

Furthermore, he would not want to trade places in heaven with St Peter, for he had redeemed more souls with his indulgences than Peter with his sermons.

Furthermore, if anyone put money into the coffer for a soul in purgatory, the soul would leave purgatory for heaven in the moment one could hear the penny hit the bottom.

Also, the grace of indulgences is the grace by which man is reconciled with God.

Furthermore, it is not necesssary to show remorse or sorrow or do penance for sins when purchasing indulgences or a letter of indulgence. He even sold indulgences for future sins. Such abominable things he did abundantly. He was merely interested in money.

At that time I did not yet know who was to get the money. Then there appeared a booklet with the illustrious coat of arms of the Bishop of Magdeburg. In it the commissioners of indulgences were ordered to preach some of these propositions. Thus it came to light that Bishop Albert had employed Tetzel, because he was such a braggart.

  • Martin Luther, Wider Hans Worst, 1541. (WA 51, 538.); Hans J. Hllerbrand, The Reformation: A Narrative History Related by Contemporary Observances and Participants (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1964), 44-45.

Socialism Kills Updated ~ Matt Kibbe (Plus: Beer is Freedom)

Via Matt Kibbe:

  • What is the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist? Big-government types are constantly rebranding themselves. A “socialist” is someone who wants to see the elimination of the monetary economy, the elimination of prices, and the elimination of private property. A better name for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the radical left is “utopian statists.”

Beer = Freedom

Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and the stars have been worshiped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky? …see how much he [God] has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.

Martin Luther, quoted in: Drinking with Calvin and Luther – A History of Alcohol in the Church, by Jim West.

Give men time. I took three years of constant study, reflection, and discussion to arrive where I now am, and can the com­mon man, untutored in such matters, be expected to move the same distance in three months? Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit wine and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and stars have been worshiped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky? Such haste and violence betray a lack of confidence in God. See how much he has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.

Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2013), 213.

The Impact of Godly Men on Culture: John Wesley, Martin Luther

This is an excerpt from a book that really points out the impact of Godly men on many persons and facets of life just assumed to be the way they are for no reason. For instance, the impact of John Wesley is immeasurable:

  • Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville, TN: Thoomas Nelson, 2011), 270-271, 272.

A further fruit of Wesley’s work were the conversions of William Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury, and others, and the development of what is called the Clapham Sect. This was a group of devout evan­gelicals who lived around Clapham Common, southeast of London. This community of Christians included businessmen, bankers, politi­cians, colonial governors, and members of Parliament, whose cease­less, sacrificial labors benefited millions of their fellows at home and abroad–especially in Africa and India.

Restoration of the authority of the Bible in the English world amounted to a civilization finding its soul. Writings of a number of literary men and women give evidence of their recovering a biblical perspective. Poets such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Lord Tennyson, and later Rudyard Kipling and John Masefield; nov­elists like Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, the Brontë sisters, Robert Louis Stevenson — all these and others owed much to the purging and ennobling influence of the biblical revival.

To the degree their writings were shaped by the Bible’s worldview, they held in check [temperred] the logical consequences of the Enlightenment’s rejection of of revelation…

[….]

The following improvements came in a direct line of descent from the Wesleyan revival. First was the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the industrial workers in England. Then came fac­tory schools, ragged schools, the humanizing of the prison system, the reform of the penal code, the forming of the Salvation Army, the Religious Tract Society, the Pastoral Aid Society, the London City Mission, Müller’s Homes, Fegan’s Homes, the National Children’s Home and Orphanages, the forming of evening classes and polytech­nics, Agnes Weston’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Rest, YMCAs, Barnardo’s Homes, the NSPCC, the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, the Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the list goes on.

Ninety-nine out of a hundred people behind these movements were Christians. All these movements grew out of the revival of bibli­cal spirituality, the result of John Wesley and his associates opening up the Bible that led to the Great Awakening of hearts, minds, con­sciences, and wills.


This is not to suggest that everyone was fully Biblical in this worldview, or that no other belief system shaped their mind-set.

Which brings me to the impact of the marriage relationship as it applies to Western Culture, and the impact the Reformation had, yes, even on the marriage relationship:


  • Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville, TN: Thoomas Nelson, 2011), 283-291.

ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN

[p. 283>] Rodney Stark, in his authoritative study The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History, discusses the rise of Christianity in its early pagan Greco-Roman setting. Among other things, he explores the impact of the Bible’s commands concerning adultery, rape, murder, divorce, love for wives, care for widows, and so forth, on womanhood in general. The following is from a section entitled “Wives, Widows, and Brides”:

First of all, a major aspect of women’s improved status in the Christian subculture is that Christians did not condone female infanticide . . . the more favorable Christian view of women is also demonstrated in their condemnation of divorce, incest, marital infidelity, and polygamy. As Fox put it, “fidelity, without divorce, was expected of every Christian.” . . . Like pagans, early Christians prized female chastity, but unlike pagans, they rejected the double standard that gave pagan men so much sexual license. Christian men were urged to remain virgins until marriage, and extramarital sex was condemned as adultery. Chadwick noted that Christianity “regarded unchastity in a husband as no less serious a breach of loy­alty and trust than unfaithfulness in a wife.”

Stark pointed out that Christian widows enjoyed substantial advantages over pagan widows, who faced great social pressure to [p. 284>] remarry. Augustus Caesar, for example, fined widows who failed to remarry within two years. When a widow remarried, she lost all her inheritance—it became the property of her new husband. In contrast, the New Testament required Christians to respect and care for wid­ows. Well-to-do Christian widows kept their husbands’ estates, and the church sustained the poorer ones, giving them a choice whether or not to remarry.

Christians also expressed their respect for women by raising the age of marriage. Roman law established twelve as the minimum age at which girls could marry. But the law was nothing more than a rec­ommendation. It carried no penalties and was routinely ignored. The best available studies show that in the Roman Empire the pagans’ daughters were three times more likely than Christians to marry before they were thirteen. By age eleven, 10 percent were wed. Nearly half (44 percent) of the pagan girls were married off by the time they were fourteen, compared with 20 percent of the Christians. In con­trast, nearly half (48 percent) of the Christian females did not marry before they were eighteen.

Stark reported that in 1955, French historian Durry published his findings that Roman marriages involving child brides were con­summated even if the bride had not achieved puberty. Durry thought that this was not the norm. However, substantial literary evidence has since emerged that consummation of these marriages was taken for granted. Pagan writers like Plutarch called this custom cruel and con­trary to nature because it filled girls with hatred and fear. Christians, in contrast, could delay their daughters’ marriages because the New Testament gave them different moral standards—the same standard for men and women. The Bible’s sexual ethic gave Christian girls the time to grow up and become better wives and mothers.

SEX AND MARRIAGE

Rome’s classical culture did not see sex merely as secular pleasure. Like the Tantric sects in India, many Roman temples were packed with prostitutes—female as well as male. An 1889 study found that [p. 285>] quite a few married women of high-ranking families in the Roman Empire had “asked to have their names entered amongst the public prostitutes, in order that they might not be punished for adultery.”

Adultery was a crime with serious consequences because it was an economic offense, taking another man’s property (wife) —not because it was a matter of sexual impurity, a disruption of the holy union of husband and wife or a violation ‘of sacred vows. In fact, extramarital sex with a temple prostitute was considered a purifying, god-pleasing, religious event, if not the very means of Gnostic enlightenment. Even today, many Hindu gurus and Yoga teachers have sex with their female and male devotees on the pretext of “purifying chakras”—the psychic centers in one’s body.

Religious and aristocratic promotion of extramarital sex had colossal consequences. Easy availability of sex without commitment took away men’s motivation to be married. Dislike for marriage had become evident as early as 131 BC, when the Roman censor Quintus Metellus Macedonicus proposed that marriage must be made manda­tory. Too many men preferred to remain single, leading the censor to concede: “If we could get on without a wife . . . we would all avoid that annoyance.”

Metellus continued, however, stating that men needed to take into account the long-term welfare of the state: “But since nature has ordained that we can neither live very comfortably with them nor at all without them, we must take thought for our lasting well-being rather than for the pleasure of the moment.” More than a century later, Augustus Caesar quoted this passage to the Senate to justify his own legislation on behalf of marriage. The need was obvious, the argu­ment was compelling, but the legislation was not greeted with any greater enthusiasm the second time around. Historian Beryl Rawson wrote: ” [O]ne theme that recurs in Latin literature is that wives are difficult and therefore men do not care much for marriage.”

Another cumulative result of promiscuity, child marriage, mis­treatment of women, divorce, and fear of marriage was that Rome’s pagan population began to decline during the final years of the empire. Unwed mothers and insecure wives (who feared divorce) [p. 286>] chose abortion and infanticide even if their natural instincts were for nurture and care. Toward the end of the second century AD, Minucius Felix charged in Octavius that religious mythology encouraged mur­der through infanticide and abortion:

I see your newly born sons exposed by you to wild beasts and birds of prey, or cruelly strangled to death. There are also women among you who, by taking certain drugs, destroy the beginnings of the future human being while it is still in the womb and are guilty of infanti­cide before they are mothers. These practices have certainly come down to you from your gods.

The long-term consequence of prostitution, permissiveness, sin­gleness, divorce, abortion, infanticide, and decline of population was that Roman towns began to shrink in numbers and size. Eventually the empire had to depend on a constant influx of “barbarian” set­tlers. As early as the second century, Marcus Aurelius had to draft slaves and gladiators and hire Germans and Scythians in order to fill the ranks of the army. Consequently, Rome became vulnerable. The main challenge to this depressing trend came from the Church, which followed the biblical injunction to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Compared to the pagans, the Christians’ commitment to marriage resulted in more secure women and a higher fertility rate. Likewise, Christian opposition to infanticide and abortion resulted in a lower mortality rate. Together the Christian population naturally grew faster than that of Rome’s pagans. Christians’ choices in favor of sexual purity, stable marriage, and care for children, orphans, and widows aided civilization but were not caused by concerns for civilization. Their motive was to please God by obeying his Word.

During the first millennium AD, the Roman Catholic Church was the greatest force for the emancipation of women. In the beginning of the second millennium, however, the “cult of Virgin Mary” and [p. 287>] the idea of earning salvation through religiosity led to an unbiblical exaltation of celibacy. The idea of “salvation by works” often leads to denial of comforts—certain foods, drinks, sleep, sex, marriage, etc. This mind-set—the denial of pleasure and the achievement of righteousness by pious works—caused people to view sex, marriage, family, and economically productive labor (necessary to sustain a family) as concessions for the spiritually inferior. The renunciation of marriage and the pleasures (and responsibilities) of family life were held up as pious virtues. Celibacy became public proof of spiritual superiority. Joining a monastery became the surest way to heaven. This spiritual pride led to gross prejudice against women.

For example, the popular Hammer Against the Witches (AD 1487) seduced Inquisitors to think that women were sexually .insatiable hyenas and a constant danger to men and their society. Tantric sexual permissiveness resulted in similar reactions in mainstream Hinduism—exaltation of asceticism and celibacy (Brahmacharya) with a degrading view of women as temptresses. The Hindu reaction went further than European exaltation of celibacy by considering physical matter, the human body, and sex as inherently evil, in con­trast to spirit, which was good. For example, Swami Sivananda, the founder of the Divine Life Society and a pioneer of the modern guru movement, wrote statements such as:

Sex-pleasure is the most devitalizing and demoralizing of pleasures. Sexual pleasure is no pleasure at all. It is a mental delusion. It is false, utterly worthless, and extremely harmful.

Thankfully for the West, the sixteenth-century Reformation began restoring biblical norms for sexual mores. Reformers like Martin Luther argued that, according to God’s Word, sex and marriage were a means to holiness. The family, not the monastery, was the divinely ordained school of character. Acclaimed author and historian Roland [p. 288>] Bainton wrote: “Luther who got married to testify to his faith . . . did more than any other person to determine the tone of German [and Protestant] domestic relations for the next four centuries.” Luther’s home in Wittenberg became the first Christian vicarage after centu­ries. The biblical norms for family life that Luther taught remained virtually unchallenged until the end of the twentieth century.

Martin Luther’s attack on the Catholic idea of celibacy and his advocacy of the biblical idea of marriage did more to promote the Reformation than his attack on indulgences. He taught that accord­ing to the Bible some individuals are called to a celibate life. However, God’s normal plan for human beings is marriage. The doctrine that marriage is spiritually inferior or undesirable is “teaching of the demons.” Luther taught that the family, not the monastery, is God’s school of character; celibacy has become the devil’s trap to lure priests and monks into sin.

Initially, from 1517 to 1521, to ordinary Europeans the Reformation appeared as a matter of theological disputes between experts. Ordinary people woke up to it when priests began to marry as a result of Luther’s little book The Babylonian Captivity. Luther argued that the laws of men could not annul the command of God to marry. God ordained marriage for men before sin entered the world. Sex was a part of the material world that the Creator declared “very good.” Luther noted that the Scripture informs us: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ In other words, God made Eve for Adam. She is good and necessary for him—a perfect gift planned by divine wisdom. God made only one woman for a man—the two of them to “become one flesh.”

Luther followed up his iconoclastic book with an Address to the Nobility. This presented the practical rationale for priests (not monks) to marry: A priest had to have a housekeeper; to put a man and a woman together was like bringing fire to straw and expecting nothing to happen. The unchaste chastity in the Church needed to be brought to an end. Priests had to be set free to marry. The natural, divinely ordained sexual drive needed to be recognized as a necessary, good, and honorable impulse.

[p. 289>] Luther—a monk—was still hiding in the castle of Wartburg to avoid being burned as a heretic, when three priests affirmed the right­ness of his teaching by getting married. Archbishop Albert of Mainz arrested them. Luther sent a stern protest. Albert decided to consult the University of Wittenberg. Luther’s senior colleague and a highly respected scholar, Andreas Carlstadt, answered the bishop’s query by writing a book against celibacy. He concluded that, according to the Bible, a priest not only might marry but that he must marry and father a family. In place of obligatory celibacy, Carlstadt substituted obliga­tory matrimony and paternity. He went on to confirm his Bible study by setting a personal example. He got married.

Luther was delighted by Carlstadt’s bold decision. He was uncom­fortable, however, with Carlstadt’s proposal that even monks should marry. Luther felt that the case for monks, like him, was different from that of priests. Monks had taken voluntary vows to remain celibate. It would be wrong to break those vows. That raised a new question: Did God enjoin the vows of celibacy? Luther’s answer helped create the modern concept of marriage as well as the modern politico-economic world.

The question forced Luther to go back to the Scriptures. He found the monk’s vow against marrying unscriptural and in conflict with charity and liberty. He sent his theses back to the university: “Marriage is good, virginity is better, but liberty is best” From the Bible Luther concluded that monastic vows rested on false and arrogant assumptions that celibate Christians had a special calling or vocation, to observe the counsels of perfection, which were superior to ordinary Christians who obey ordinary moral laws. Luther’s revolutionary conclusion is known as the “priesthood of all believers.”

Luther’s exposition of the Bible began to empty out monaster­ies. His exposition became the basic theological factor that enabled Protestant nations to develop economically faster than Catholic countries and to build egalitarian democracies. The family is a civili­zation’s primary engine for economic growth. If a man has no family, he might plant crops, but he is unlikely to plant and nurture trees and develop fields for coming generations. He might dig a cave or hew a [p. 290>] tree house, but he is unlikely to build a home for his grandchildren. The family motivates parents to plan, earn, sacrifice, save, and invest for future generations—for their physical as well as social welfare.

This “priesthood of all believers” negated a priest’s vocation as superior. Luther taught the cobbler was as important as the priest. All vocations had to be honored equally. Each had to be undertaken diligently as a service to God. This biblical priesthood of all believers challenged Europe’s class distinctions. It birthed the modern demo­cratic equality of all citizens—rich or poor, educated or illiterate, old or young, male or female. Luther planted seeds in Europe that yielded their best harvest in America.

On January 10, 1529, Luther preached on the second chapter of the gospel of John. The passage recounts Jesus’ miracle of turn­ing water into wine at a wedding in Cana at his widowed mother’s request. Luther encapsulated the intrinsic goodness of marriage, the priesthood of all believers, the equal value of every vocation, and the family as the school of character:

There are three estates: marriage, virginity, and widowhood. They are all good. None is to be despised. The virgin is not to be esteemed above the widow, nor the widow above the wife, anymore than the tailor is to be esteemed above the butcher. There is no estate to which the Devil is so opposed as to marriage. The clergy have not wanted to be bothered with work and worry. They have been afraid of a nag­ging wife, disobedient children, difficult relatives, or the dying pig or a cow. They want to lie abed until the sun shines through the window. Our ancestors knew this and would say, “Dear child, be a priest or a nun and have a good time.” I have heard married people say to monks, “You have it easy, but when we get up we do not know where to find our bread.” Marriage is a heavy cross because so many couples quarrel. It is the grace of God when they agree. The Holy Spirit declares there are three wonders: when brothers agree, when neighbors love each other, and when a man and a wife are at one. When I see a pair like that, I am glad as if I were in a garden of roses. It is rare.

[p. 291>] Radical feminists were not the first to see marriage as a “heavy cross”—a burden or slavery. Luther said marriage was slavery for men as much as for women. That is precisely why many men in pagan Rome preferred not to marry but to seek extramarital or homosexual relationships. Christianity made marriage harder for men by requir­ing that husbands remain faithful, committed, and loving to the same woman—no matter what—”until death do us part.” When a husband is forbidden extramarital affairs, taking a second wife, or divorcing a difficult wife; when he is not allowed to hate or be harsh with her; when he is required to love and honor his wife; then his wife is empowered. She has the security to seek for her dignity and rights.

Marriage brings out the worst in both husbands and wives. They must choose whether to stay in that school of character or to drop out. The Bible made divorce difficult because one does not learn much by quitting a challenging school. The only way to make monogamy work is to value love above pleasure, to pursue holiness and humility rather than power and personal fulfillment, to find grace to repent rather than condemn, to learn sacrifice and patience in place of indulgence and gratification. The modern world was created by countless couples who did just that. In working to preserve their marriages and provide for their children, they invested in the future of civilization itself.


The Reformers saw it as a “cult,” since there was no biblical basis for praying to Mary or for assuming that she had remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth. There is biblical evidence that she had normal marital relations and children with her husband (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19).

Luther and Calvin Responsible for “Christian Terrorists”?

Keep in mind as you read… that there is a growing anti-Christian sentiment on the left. This attack is switching towards even the Reformational view of “saved by grace.” No… I am not kidding:

In the wake of the November 27th shootings at Planned Parenthood, media interest has centered around what the New York Times calls gunman Robert Dear’s “idiosyncratic” religious beliefs. In a 1993 affidavit, Dear’s ex-wife Barbara Micheau described him as someone who “claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions…He says that as long as he believes, he will be saved.”

Dear’s vision of grace—salvation through faith alone, independent of moral or immoral action—may well seem distasteful to many Times readers. But is it “idiosyncratic?” Hardly. In fact, the notion that salvation can—and must—be obtained purely by the grace of God and faith in God’s mercy, rather than by anything an individual does (or does not) do, is among the issues at the heart of the division between the Protestant and Catholic Christian traditions. Dear’s actions may seem reprehensible to Christians and non-Christians alike, but his understanding of salvation is very much in keeping with the American evangelical tradition.

[….]

Is there something quintessentially American about this view of sin and grace? Timothy Smith certainly thinks so. It contributed to a wider sense among Christian theologians that a focus on grace—rather than acts—was essential for Christianity’s survival within this new America. As he writes:

“Like the founding fathers of the nation, [early American theologians] were keenly aware of the threat that in a free society the masses of ordinary persons, including the great company of church people, would make their political and economic and social choices in response to greed or the love of power, pleasure, and public esteem. … Grace alone, they believed, could purify the inner springs of character and so make possible the creation of a righteous society; and that grace came in the sanctifying fullness of the Holy Spirit.”

While Dear’s actions may be horrific and aberrant, to dismiss his theology as purely “idiosyncratic” is to overlook a vast body of grace-centered religious language in the American tradition: a tradition that has come to shape the contours of American evangelicalism today.

Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., thought of himself as a Christian, according to his ex-wife.

“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions,” Barbara Micheau said in a divorce court document, according to the Times.

[This is key]

  • “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases.”

(See CNSNews)

I have been in the Evangelical faith for a better part of my life — [dramatic pause] — and I know of no pastor that subscribes to a faith that one can do whatever one pleases and you remain in the faith. Dumb!

The press is portraying the Reformation and it’s understanding of “by grace alone/by faith alone” as a root cancer in people having a religious “stamp of approval” ~ by God no less ~ to commit acts of terrorism… as will be explained in more-depth further below when a major newspaper equates a Messianic Jew to ISIS loving Muslims. This new narrative plays into the hands of the PC crowd and the newer “white priveledge” aspect of the Founding Fathers and WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant).

TS Elliot WASP

Here, the Red Letters Dialogues delves into the narrative that is now attacking “fundamentalists” in a decent half-hour podcast talking about how the Evangelical Christian is under attack… by the media AND the Pope!

Likewise, at the end of Macho Sauces’s video [below]… Zo makes this point as well, that “somehow us right-wingers with our guns and our Bibles are the real threat”

  • (Video Description) Liberals want you to forget that the real threat is Islamic terrorists… If you remember that, then they’ll have a tougher time passing gun control!

Commenting deeper on this narrative Alfonzo hinted at (the left “blaming” Christians for violence), here are two article I found informative. First, if you want to see how far down the rabbit trail the left goes, read no further than NewsBusters expose:

….Ever since the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last Wednesday, several members of the media have tried to spread the blame from the “radicalized” Muslim couple who shot and killed more than a dozen people to other individuals who are “just as bigoted” as the murderers.

One of those people in the media is columnist Linda Stasi of the New York Daily News, who wrote in a Dec. 6 article asserting that the interaction between “two hate-filled, bigoted municipal employees” led to the deaths of “13 innocent people” who were killed in an act of “unspeakable carnage.”

The post’s title read: “San Bernardino Killers Were ISIS-Loving Monsters — But One of Their Victims Was Just as Bigoted.”

The column drew a fiery reaction from Soopermexican of the Right Wing Scoop website, who called Stasi a “foul, disgusting liberal” and branded her column “quite alarming.”

Nevertheless, Stasi stated:

One man spent his free time writing frightening, NRA-loving, hate-filled screeds on Facebook about the other’s religion.

The other man quietly stewed and brewed his bigotry, collecting the kind of arsenal that the Facebook poster would have envied.

“What they didn’t realize,” she stated, “is that except for their different religions, they were in many ways similar men who even had the same job.”

One man, “the Muslim, was a loser who had to travel all the way to Pakistan to get himself an email bride,” Stasi wrote while refusing to add to their fame by “using the killer and his murderous wife’s names.”

[….]

The other man, the victim — Nicholas Thalasinos — was “a radical Born Again Christian/Messianic Jew who also connected with his future wife online and had traveled across the country to meet her,” Stasi noted.

“The killer, however, became half of an ‘Islamic Bonnie and Clyde’” who “deserve every disgusting adjective thrown at them,” she charged. “And more.”

“But the victim is also inaccurately being eulogized as a kind and loving religious man,” Stasi stated.

She continued:

Make no mistake: As disgusting and deservedly dead as the hate-filled fanatical Muslim killers were, Thalasinos was also a hate-filled bigot. Death can’t change that.

But in the U.S., we don’t die for speaking our minds. Or we’re not supposed to anyway.

Referring to Stasi, Soopermexican claimed that “this is just unbelievably foul of her. And it really makes you wonder what she thinks should be done to conservatives who think like he did, if she’s equating him to an evil, murderous ISIS-sympathizing terrorist that the police rightfully shot down in the street like a dog.”

“Now in no way am I saying her free speech should be shut down,” the Right Scoop poster continued. “I want people to see how stupid and wretched liberals are. BUT her point of view should be relegated to the fever swamps of the fringe Internet like Twitter or Tumblr, not legitimized in the pages of a professional publication.”

…read the rest…

Mind you… there are some crazy views on this shooting (and other shootings), but as I see it, the above referenced piece by Linda Stasi of the Daily News is *JUST AS CRAZY* (*Booming Bass-Filled Echo Affect*).

Here is the narrative — in your face! Take note of the pro-life families included in a video about “terrorism”

LIKEWISE, the Left and the Media have gotten their panties in the bunch over what they deem as “Christian Terrorism” in the Robert Lewis Dear. In an EXCELLENT Charisma magazine article, Matt Barber — after going through the percentage of Islamist’s in the Muslim faith and comparing that to the world population — he continues on into the “moral equivalency” of the piece:

…it’s no surprise that there have been nearly 27,500 terrorist attacks worldwide committed by faithful Muslims since 9/11.

There have been zero committed by faithful Christians.

Here’s why.

Muslims, true Muslims, follow the teachings of their dead “prophet” Muhammad, a warring tyrant who, as even the Islamic Quran concedes, was a murderous misogynist and pedophile. Christians, true Christians, follow the very-much-alive Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, whose teachings are found in the God-breathed Holy Bible.

Muhammad taught, and the Quran stresses, that a central tenet of Islam is to convert, enslave or kill the infidel. An infidel is anyone who is not Muslim or, depending on who’s doing the killing, belongs to a different sect of Islam.

On the other hand, Jesus taught His followers, who are called Christians, to “do to others what you would have them do to you” (see Luke 6:31); that, “You shall not murder” (see Matthew 19:18); and that we are to “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us]” (see Matthew 5:44). It goes without saying that those who do not follow these teachings are not following Christ.

Indeed, while many may claim to be “Christian,” the word only applies to those who are justified in Christ, spiritually reborn and regenerated through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The true Christian walks in Christ’s steps through faith and obedience.

Terrorism is in direct disobedience to Christ.

Whereas “Muslim extremists,” that is, faithful Muslims, kill people extremely, “Christian extremists,” that is, faithful Christians, love people, including their enemies, extremely.

Islam is Christianity’s photo-negative. While Christianity brings eternal life to those choosing to surrender to Jesus, who alone is “the Way, the Truth and the Life,” Islam brings eternal death to those who surrender to Allah, who is “the best of deceivers” (“[A]nd Allah was deceptive, for Allah is the best of deceivers.” [see Surah 3:54]).

Which brings us to last week’s mass shooting near an abortion slaughterhouse in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Even as the secular left was gleefully screaming, “Christian terrorism!” Garrett Swasey, a pro-life, Christian pastor and police officer, was laying down his life for those inside the very Planned Parenthood he abhorred.

It’s what Christians do.

Still, again, and so our liberal, anti-Christian friends fully understand, Officer Garrett Swasey was a pro-life Christian. Robert Dear, the evil, reclusive, deranged pothead who killed him, is not. Dear murdered three innocent people. He is, by definition, not “pro-life.” Neither is he Christian. He is, much like Planned Parenthood, “pro-death.”

To be sure, pro-life Christians like Officer Swasey agree: Murdering babies is wrong. And murdering the murderers who murder babies is also wrong. Shooting innocent people is evil. Just like dismembering babies and selling their body parts is evil.

No, Robert Dear is no “Christian terrorist.” He may be a terrorist, but he’s not a Christian terrorist. He can’t be. He doesn’t follow Christ. If anything, Robert Dear’s actions are more like those of Planned Parenthood, orthodox Islam and Syed Farook.

Yes, there have been terrorists who call themselves Christian.

But there has never been a Christian terrorist.

The Godfather of Politics notes how the media would portray the well known atheist, Dan Barker, if he were to commit an “act of terrorism:

…Let’s suppose that Mr. Barker decides to commit a terrorist act. How might the headline read?:

“Christian Preacher and Musician Burns Down Gideon Bible Factory.”

Given Mr. Barker’s logic, this would be an appropriate description. But, of course, it wouldn’t be true.

It’s not what a person is on paper that counts; it’s what they actually practice and identify with in their terrorist acts that matter.

Consider Eric Rudolf, the “Olympic Park Bomber,” … Rudolf wrote the following in an undated letter that was published in the July 6, 2005 issue of USA Today:

Many good people continue to send me money and books. Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I’m in here I must be a ‘sinner’ in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible.”

[emphasis added]

We are ALL sinners, and need God’s Divine Grace → to rule our faith. If that makes me a terrorist… then so be it.

Defending “Lutheranism” from Martin Luther’s Fall from Grace

Brought this back to the forefront due to this past “Reformation Sunday

Luther Rose 2

This is a discussion that took place on my Facebook. And I could see where it was headed, but I wanted to see which avenue it went down… there is so many of them. I pick up the conversation where the person is trying to make a counter point to my assertion that Obama went to a very racist church for twenty years.

A religion started by a rabid anti-Semite, seems like it would be an inherently bad religion that people should denounce, right?

I prod, “Go on.”

What’s your opinion? If you believe obama going to a controversial church proves he has the same opinions as the church leader, I am curious what you think of an entire religion founded by someone who believed in killing and jailing all Jews.

[….]

Martin Luther, who wrote The Jews and Their Lies in the 1540’s which wad basically a blueprint for the holocaust. It’s sad that you need context to know whether killing Jews is bad or not…

I reference an earlier challenge to see if this person has read varying views of events in history, here I remind here of that challenge.

Have you read the book “The Fabricated Luther“? Or books about the Aryan cults such as noted in here (like my SCRIBD) or in books like “The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology.” Very anti-Luther ~ were the Aryans and Nazis. I will post an exceprt or two from the Luther book. BTW, this is what I mean about going to sources “at odds with each-other, you then contrasted and found the better narrative based on available historical evidence.”

Huh? Can you succinctly tell me what you think about Lutheranism? Is it poisoned because of Luther?

Here is the quote I was referring to, and allow me to elucidate afterwards:

The cliché labeling Luther an anti-Semite ignores his 1523 treatise That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew, in which he admonishes his fellow Christians: “If the apostles, who were also Jews, had dealt with us Gen­tiles as we Gentiles deal with the Jews, there would never have been a Christian among the Gentiles. Since they dealt with us Gentiles in such brotherly fashion, we in turn ought to treat the Jews in a brotherly man­ner in order that we might convert some of them … We should remem­ber that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are in the lineage of Christ?” Elsewhere in this treatise, Luther writes: “If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian.”

It is noteworthy that in the early twentieth century, the Jewish Encyclopedia made a clear distinction between the “two Luthers”—the pro-Jewish younger Luther and the anti-Jewish older Luther. In this remarkable publication, Gotthard Deutsch melancholically observed about Luther in 1906 that the “totally different attitudes which he took at different times with regard to the Jews made him, during the anti-Semitic controversies of the end of the nineteenth century, an authority quoted alike by friends and enemies of the Jews?”

Alas, it is true that in 1543, shortly before his death, Luther pub­lished his venomous book On the Jews and Their Lies, a work that was to cause great embarrassment to future centuries of Lutheran church lead­ers. In this book, he gave the “sincere advice” to burn down the syna­gogues, destroy the Jews’ homes, take away their prayer books, forbid rabbinic teaching, abolish safe-conduct for Jewish travel, prohibit usury, and force Jews into manual labor.

Johannes Wallmann has shown, however, that Luther’s treatises against the Jews, though reprinted in the late-sixteenth and early-sev­enteenth centuries, had limited impact in the general population. As the article in the Jewish Encyclopedia made clear, this and other appalling texts did not resurface until the late nineteenth century. In fact, in a devastating critique of German Protestant attitudes in the Hitler years, Richard Steigmann-Gall writes: “Not only did racialist anti-Semitism find a warmer reception among liberal Protestants than among confessional Lutherans, in many ways, racialist anti-Semitism was born of the theological crisis that liberal Protestantism represented..” Liberal Protestantism is a child of the nineteenth century. According to Steigmann-Gall, it provided the platform for Nazi ideologues to develop such theories as the one that Jesus was an Aryan. In other words, Protestants who were theologically closest to Luther’s teachings were more immune than liberals to one of the ugliest aspects of Nazism—racism. This observation could arguably also be made about deviant and sometimes lethal theologoumena that are currently rife in mainline churches in the United States and elsewhere in the West.

Uwe Siemon-Netto, The Fabricated Luther: Refuting Nazi Connections and Other Modern Myths, 2nd Edition (Saint Loiuse, MS: Concordia Publishing, 2007), 51-52.

Here is the point, Lutheranism was founded well BEFORE his 1543 anti-Semitic writing… when he was VERY Jewish friendly.

SO — Lutheranism was founded on the pro-Jewish Luther. It was leftism in it’s various shades that chose the later Luther.

In Germany (and the U.S.), the eugenic movement was founded by left leaning secular and religious persons. Lutheran churches (read here — especially conservative Lutheran churches — but all) have denounced this racism from “later Luther.”

Has Obama denounced his ties to Farrakhan, his churches teaching that blacks are the true Jews? Have you heard his church of 20-years denounce Farrakhan or the New Black Panther members that sit in its pews? Have you heard Michelle Obama denounce her affiliations to Farrakhan’s wife?

You see, you are setting up a non-sequitur… and emboldening my case that racism exists on the Left… much more-so than in conservative politics or conservative religion.

From eugenicists and the real NAZIs (an acronym with socialism in it), to before that and the founding of the KKK and, to our country entering into a Civil War, to the founder of Planned Parenthood. On-and-on:

▼ “…virtually every significant racist in American political history was a Democrat.” Bruce Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past (New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), ix;

▼ “…not every Democrat was a KKK’er, but every KKK’er was a Democrat.” Ann Coulter, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama (New York, NY: Sentinel [Penguin], 2012), 19.

The history of Protestantism and Catholicism saving Jews in WWII is another proud moment to understand (for instance the book by the Jewish Rabbi entitled: “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany”), Einstein did:

“Being a lover of freedom, when the [Nazi] revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks… Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”

Albert Einstein Time Magazine, December 23, 1940 (page 38); Mackay, J. A. 1939. “The Titanic Twofold Challenge,” New York Times Magazine, May 7, p. 3.

I am very aware of his “evolving” thoughts on Jews but the effects of his venomous thoughts, no matter how late in life they came, on the real life of Jews around the world cannot be ignored. You should consider be so kind to everyone.

Okay, no one is denying this? But Lutheranism was not founded on Anti-Semitism. Obama’s church was. It would be analogous to me going to a liberal, NAZI, Lutheran church in Germany for 20-years.

While a couple other things were said, the above is a good way to defend Church history, while still admitting Luther’s later fall from grace. (Mind you with a little RPT religio-political “swerve” thrown in.) Here is an interview with the author of the above LONG quote from Fabricating Luther, Uwe Siemon-Netto:

Here is a good short video by egwpisteuw, here is his video description:

An analysis of the error in Bible interpretation made by Martin Luther which caused him to become antisemitic and to write the treatise entitled “Von den Juden und ihren Lügen” “Of the Jews and Their Lies.”

Reformation Day Historical Series by Dr. R.C. Sproul (498 years ago)

See more at Ligonier Ministries

See also: The Luther Decade

LUTHER AND THE LIGHTNING BOLT

MONASTERY AND ROME CRISIS

TOWER EXPERIENCE

BUILDING ST PETER’S

INDULGENCE CONTROVERSY

PROGRESS TO WORMS

ROMAN CATHOLIC VIEW OF JUSTIFICATION ~ Part 1

ROMAN CATHOLIC VIEW OF JUSTIFICATION ~ Part 2

PROSTESTANT VIEW OF JUSTIFICATION

ROME’S OBJECTIONS ANSWERED

Keeping Our Christian Identity Through “Seders” (Edited)

Walk With Me

This is a topic I taught on at church, and it is a simple way to preach the Gospel to yourself. There are 5 categories:

  1. We are Sinners;
  2. We are Judged for this sin;
  3. We are Forgiven;
  4. This forgiveness creates a Relational aspect with our God;
  5. Which brings Joy in every situation we face.

In our busy schedules choose a single verse from each section and on Monday study that single verse about our sinful nature. Use an online resource such as Blue Letter Bible to read a commentary on it or Bible Gateway to read a version you haven’t read of the verse. (Or one of your home resources… whatever the case may be.) On Tuesday take a verse on forgiveness (mine, or one that has hit a cord with you over the years). Etc.

By Friday, T.G.I.F. takes on a new meaning. The following week, do the same, but with a different verse. Habits.

WE ARE CALLED TO CHECK IN

A verse that calls us to “check in” so-to-speak, is 2 Corinthians 13:5 ~ I will read from a paraphrase of this verse, however, feel free to click on the link below to see the paraphrase next to my favorite versions:

2Corinthians 13:5’ish

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.

We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.

Even one of the greatest Repormers mentioned this “preaching the Gospel to ourselves” aspect of our faith: “We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day” ~ Martin Luther.

ALL HAVE SINNED (#1)

  • Proverbs 21:2 ~ “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.”
  • Proverbs 16:2 ~ “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD evaluates the motives.”
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 ~ “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

2 things to glean from these:

1. Divine involvement in man’s heart is not limited to kings or priests;

2. A person may think nothing is wrong with his conduct, ahem, but God may.

Here we read a quick insight gleaned from Matthew Henry (Matthew 23:27-28)

The proud heart is very ingenious in putting a fair face upon a foul matter, and in making that appear right to itself which is far from being so, to stop the mouth of conscience. ~ Matthew Henry

How many righteous persons are there?

  • Romans 3:10 ~ “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

Bill Cosby teaches us about this malady we have from the earliest age:

As an aside. Something that Bill Cosby said above struck a cord with me. He mentioned that the only time a child tells the truth is when they are in pain. So do we ~ often times ~ as adults. Here is the C.S. Lewis quote that came to me when I watched this:

We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities, and anyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (NY, New York: Touchstone, 1996), 82-83.

Let us take a short historical theology break and read a few points from the 1689 London Baptist Confession:

4 The actual sins that men commit are the fruit of the corrupt nature transmitted to them by our first parents. By reason of this corruption, all men become wholly inclined to all evil; sin disables them. They are utterly indisposed to, and, indeed, rendered opposite to, all that is good. (Matt. 15:19; Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21; Jas. 1:14.)

5 During this earthly life corrupt nature remains in those who are born of God, that is to say, regenerated. Through Christ it is pardoned and mortified, yet both the corruption itself, and all that issues from it, are truly and properly sin. (Eccles. 7:20; Rom. 7:18,23-25; Gal. 5:17; 1 John 1:8.)

Hank Hanegraaff explains WHAT sin is and is not:

R.C. Sproul, a theologian of report, helps us define what TOTAL and UTTER “depravity” means:

…There is a distinction which I have found to be helpful: total depravity does not mean utter depravity. Utter depravity would mean that every human being is as wicked as it is possible to be, and we know that this is not the case. As much as we sin, we can always contemplate sinning more often, or more grievously than we presently do.

While some will not support my posting of this next video by Mark Driscoll… I understand. But he has done a lot of good explaining of core doctrine that assists us in understanding concepts, like, TOTAL DEPRAVITY:

  • Jeremiah 17:9 ~ “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable – who can understand it?”

Sproul has a wonderful ministry, and he [Sproul] has asked ~ rhetorically ~ how: anyone could be involved in believing in the value of human worth and at the same time believing in TOTAL depravity? He responds:

The very fact that Calvinists take sin so seriously is because they take the value of human beings so seriously. It is because man was made in the image of God, called to mirror and reflect God’s holiness, that we have the distinction of being the image-bearers of God.

But what does ‘total depravity’ mean? Total depravity means simply this: that sin affects every aspect of our human existence: our minds, our wills and our bodies are affected by sin. Every dimension of our personality suffers at some point from the weight of sin that has infected the human race.

SENTENCED! (#2)

  • Leviticus 5:17 ~ “If someone sins and without knowing it violates any of the Lord’s commands concerning anything prohibited, he bears the consequences of his guilt.”

...GUILT

Modern persons think “guilt” is a matter of feelings;

The Bible treats guilt as a fact.

In the O.T. guilt has three aspects.

(1) There is an act which brings guilt;
(2) There is the condition of guilt which follows the act;
(3) There is punishment appropriate to the act.

In the N.T., guilt is a judicial concept. The Greek word/idea is drawn from the courts, and emphasize liability to punishment. The guilty person has been:

(1) accused;
(2) tried;
(3) and convicted.

Both Testaments view acts which bring guilt as the end result of offenses against God. (See: Heb. 9:11–28 for the legal answer to this predicament)

  • Romans 6:23(a) ~ “For the wages of sin is death….”

This is the summary of the entire chapter. Paul painted the choice in black and white. The choice is ours—sin and death or free grace through Christ and eternal life. It is very similar to the “two ways” of OT wisdom literature (Ps. 1; Prov. 4; 10–19; Matt. 7:13–14).

And, we must always keep in mind that we are judged righteously by our Triune God:

Never put someone to death unless 2 or 3 witnesses:

“But never put a person to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 17:6); “For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28).

FORGIVEN (#3)

Galatians 2:16-17 (HCSB)

“…yet we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for no human being will be justified by the works of the law.” (International Standard Version [ISV])

~ According to the text in the ISV, Christ’s faith — not ours — does the justifying. It is His focus of attention, not ours, that does the work. (The “onus” then is put in proper perspective.) As an example from one of my favorite verses, Philippians 1:6:

“I am sure of this, that He who (a) started a good work in you will (b) carry it on to completion until the (c) day of Christ Jesus.”

To be clear:

(a) HE started the Good work [salvation];
(b) He will carry it out;

(c) He will complete it.

It is ALL a work of Christ!

In-other-words, we will join the 24-elders in Revelation in throwing our crowns at Jesus feet, for all the good “WE” did was in actually Him working through us by even creating these… good works in our heart, and the will and drive to do them for His glory:

“There will be no jarring note in Heaven, no whisper of human merit, no claim of a reward for good intentions—but every crown shall be cast at Jesus’ feet and every voice shall join in the ascription, ‘Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name be all the glory of the salvation which You have worked out for us from first to last.’” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

The Imperishable Crown (1 Cor 9:24-24) — The Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thess 2:19) — The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) — The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4) — The Crown of Life (Revelation 2:10)

  • Romans 6:23(b) ~ “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

For those that do not know, I am a three-time convicted felon from many years ago. I like to say I am a retired felon. While in Jail I had to realign drastically the direction I had traveled. I didn’t realize it then, but I was preaching the Gospel to myself by studying Hosea. The Lord told the prophet — literally —

  • “Go, take to yourself a wife who will prove to be unfaithful.”

And if you think about it, we are all unfaithful to God in some way: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And we break our marriage contract with the Lord, it is the Lord who is faithful and bridges the gap we cannot:

“The LORD said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes'” (Hosea 3:1).

[David offered raisin cakes to the starving (1 Sam 30:11-12); at the celebration of the return of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam 6:18-19); Abigail made for David’s troops (1 Sam 25:18). What was once good in the Lord’s eyes man will surely corrupt.]

  • Jeremiah 15:19(a,b) ~ “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘If you return, I will restore you…'”

This implies we will fail, and He knew it, and yet chose us.

George Gilder enumerates a law that goes well with the Refiners Fire hymn. In an Interview with Dennis Prager Mr. Gilder enumerated a law of Information Theory*, and thus economics:

“A fundamental principle of information theory is that you can’t guarantee outcomes… in order for an experiment to yield knowledge, it has to be able to fail. If you have guaranteed experiments, you have zero knowledge”

*(the mathematical theory concerned with the content, transmission, storage, and retrieval of information, usually in the form of messages or data, and especially by means of computers)

Zechariah 13:9;
Job 23:10;
Isaiah 48:10;
1 Peter 1:7.

Notes on 1 Peter 1:7

a) Peter  was not backslidden or apathetic;
b) It was Paul’s general encouragement to fan the flame/keep the fire burning brightly

How?

  • 2 Corinthians 4:16 ~ Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.

“…renewed day by day.” Almost like a Jewish Seder which Paul would have been familiar with. Like the Passover Seder, for instance, that helped keep the identity of the Jewish nation for almost 3-millinea, we need habits that keep our identity as owned by Christ, daily. Are we equipped for the task?

“…but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” We have “to take some responsibility in that renewal. The continual brightening of the inner flame that God has given to us is related to God’s own equipment for us. God does not equip us with weakness, but with power. He does not equip us with hatred, but with love. He does not equip us with self-destruction, but with self-discipline.”

  • Romans 8:15 ~ “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

John Calvin, the great Reformer, says this of the above Romans thinking:

He now confirms the certainty of that confidence, in which he has already bidden the faithful to rest secure; and he does this by mentioning the special effect produced by the Spirit; for he has not been given for the purpose of harassing us with trembling or of tormenting us with anxiety; but on the contrary, for this end—that having calmed every perturbation [(pûr’tər-bā’shən) mental disquiet, disturbance, or agitation], and restoring our minds to a tranquil state, he may stir us up to call on God with confidence and freedom. He does not then pursue only the argument which he had before stated, but dwells more on another clause, which he had connected with it, even the paternal mercy of God, by which he forgives his people the infirmities of the flesh and the sins which still remain in them. He teaches us that our confidence in this respect is made certain by the Spirit of adoption, who could not inspire us with confidence in prayer without scaling to us a gratuitous pardon: and that he might make this more evident, he mentions a twofold spirit; he calls one the spirit of bondage, which we receive from the law; and the other, the spirit of adoption, which proceeds from the gospel. The first, he says, was given formerly to produce fear; the other is given now to afford assurance. By such a comparison of contrary things the certainty of our salvation, which he intended to confirm, is, as you see, made more evident. The same comparison is used by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews [Hebrews 12:18], where he says, that we have not come to Mount Sinai, where all things were so terrible, that the people, being alarmed as it were by an immediate apprehension of death, implored that the word should be no more spoken to them, and Moses himself confessed that he was terrified; “but to [Z]ion, the mount of the Lord, and to his city, the heavenly Jerusalem, where Jesus is, the Mediator of the New Testament.”

RELATIONAL (#4)

Okay, what does “forgiven” mean? And, how does this change our position with God?

We have all heard the famous saying, “Mercy is not getting what you deserve. And grace is getting what you absolutely do not deserve.” This comes in part from Hebrews 4:16:

“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”

“At the proper time” is a colloquial saying of the day that means “just in the nick of time.” The Believer’s Bible Commentary says this of the Hebrews verse:

Now the gracious invitation is extended: draw near with confidence to the throne of grace. Our confidence is based on the knowledge that He died to save us and that He lives to keep us. We are assured of a hearty welcome because He has told us to come.

….We can go into His presence at any time of the day or night and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. His mercy covers the things we should not have done, and His grace empowers us to do what we should do but do not have the power to do.

In Genesis 8 when Noah sacrificed clean animals to God, “the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma.” Christ is the last Adam, thee final sacrifice that ends all sacrificial offerings, and we see in 2 Corinthians 2:15 the “…we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” You see, we are covered in Christ’ offering and are thus pleasing to God.

…Segue

How should we respond to this idea in Psalm 30:5?

For His anger lasts only a moment,
but His favor, a lifetime.
Weeping may spend the night,
but there is joy in the morning.

JOYFULNESS (#5)

Indeed, God is my salvation;

I will trust Him and not be afraid,

for Jehovah, the Lord,

is my strength and my song.

He has become my salvation.”

You will joyfully draw water

from the springs of salvation,

and on that day you will say:

Give thanks to Yahweh; proclaim His name!

Celebrate His works among the peoples.

Declare that His name is exalted.

Sing to Yahweh, for He has done glorious things.

(Isaiah 12:1-6)

The God of Glory

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

(Ephesians 1:3–6)

Even in failure and time of testing and trials we have a line to divine joy. Consider James 1:2-4:

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (HCSB) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (The Message)

Of verse two my first owned (and still a favorite of mine) commentary says this:

The Christian life is filled with problems. They come uninvited and unexpected. Sometimes they come singly and sometimes in droves. They are inevitable. James does not say “if you fall into various trials” but when. We can never get away from them. The question is, “What are we going to do about them?”

There are several possible attitudes we can take toward these testings and trials of life. We can rebel against them (Heb. 12:5) by adopting a spirit of defiance, boasting that we will battle through to victory by our own power. On the other hand, we can lose heart or give up under pressure (Heb. 12:5). This is nothing but fatalism. It leads to questioning even the Lord’s care for us. Again, we can grumble and complain about our troubles. This is what Paul warns us against in 1 Corinthians 10:10. Another option—we can indulge in self-pity, thinking of no one but ourselves, and trying to get sympathy from others. Or better, we can be exercised by the difficulties and perplexities of life (Heb. 12:11). We can say, in effect, “God has allowed this trial to come to me. He has some good purpose in it for me. I don’t know what that purpose is, but I’ll try to find out. I want His purposes to be worked out in my life.” This is what James advocates: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Don’t rebel! Don’t faint! Rejoice! These problems are not enemies, bent on destroying you. They are friends which have come to aid you to develop Christian character.

God is trying to produce Christlikeness in each of His children. This process necessarily involves suffering, frustration, and perplexity. The fruit of the Spirit cannot be produced when all is sunshine; there must be rain and dark clouds. Trials never seem pleasant; they seem very difficult and disagreeable. But afterwards they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by them (Heb. 12:11). How often we hear a Christian say, after passing through some great crisis, “It wasn’t easy to take, but I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything.”

William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2218.

In another commentaries summing up of verse three, we see perseverance is key to our joy as well, but this takes time and is something not magically infused at the outset:

…But James’s readers knew the good reason God allows such trials (v. 3). God intends for them to result in a mature and complete faith; perseverance is faith’s first product. But perseverance is not a minimal virtue. Rather, it is elemental to that fortitude of the soldier who braves all in his life-and-death struggle on the field of combat. Praised by Paul (1 Thess 1:3) and by the author of Revelation (cf. 14:12), perseverance characterizes the godly both before and after Christ. The gradual and painful acquisition of this virtue is also unmistakable. Perseverance, though essential to faith, is not infused immediately in a moment of conversion. Only through great ardor and the stumbling pursuit of the goal laid before it and only through sustained service in spite of opposition does perseverance come.

Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 61–62.

Paul surely knew by heart this verse:

My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to You
because You have redeemed me.

(Psalm 71:23)

We should then have a definition of o-u-r-s-e-l-v-e-s… as Christians, that bring to bear the gift we should now be celebrating, here, Martin Luther in his Commentary on Galatians, offers a good definition of a Christian. In this definition we see the totality of the above study of Romans Road ~ exemplified:

“We therefore make this definition of a Christian: a Christian is not he who hath no sin, but he to whom God imputeth not his sin, through faith in Christ. That is why we so often repeat and beat into your minds, the forgiveness of sins and imputation of righteousness for Christ’s sake. Therefore when the law accuseth him and sin terrifieth him, he looketh up to Christ, and when he hath apprehended Him by faith, he hath present with him the conqueror of the law, sin, death, and the devil: and Christ reigneth and ruleth over them, so that they cannot hurt the Christian. So that he hath indeed a great and inestimable treasure, or as St. Paul saith: ‘the unspeakable gift’ (2 Cor. ix. 15), which cannot be magnified enough, for it maketh us the children and heirs of God. This gift may be said to be greater than heaven and earth, because Christ, who is this gift, is greater.”

A “summation” of the above: