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Martin Luther on Romans The Shaping of a Reformer

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Martin Luther on Romans The Shaping of a Reformer

    Martin Luther on Romans: The Shaping of a Reformer

    Luther Seminary Mid-Winter Convocation, January 2008

     Martin Luther’s Journey

    1483 Birth

    1501 University at Erfurt

    1502 Bachelors Degree

    1505 Masters Degree in minimum time at earliest age of 22; monastery: issue is confession of

    sins and receipt of grace & forgiveness; how could one be sure that one was really sorry and

    had confessed everything; that there was really a transformation in ones life; what about

    when I look at myself and still see things that I know are wrong; what confidence is there

    then in the forgiveness that is promised, or in the confession that comes before.

    1508 Wittenberg, lecturer in philosophy: Aristotle & Peter Lombard's Sentences

    1511 Wittenberg, professor of Scripture

    1512 Doctorate in Theology

    1513-15 Lectures on Psalms

    1515-16 Lectures on Romans - "tower experience" See Preface to Latin Writings 1545

    1516-17 Lectures on Galatians

    1517 95 Theses: "repentance" does not mean "do penance," but live in repentance - a life-long

    journey, a daily reality that is given in the forgiving grace of God

     Central issue in this period is the righteousness of God. Medieval teaching and

    Luther's upbringing had taught it as the demanding justice of God; to satisfy it meant one

    started with serious intentions to do good; and where that good work failed, one could count

    on the grace of God to supply the needed power, as it were, to make up the difference, and

    also on the sacraments. So the picture: grace + our good intentions and works =

    salvation/righteousness.

     For Luther God's righteousness is God's mercy - the grace which transforms us and

    makes us righteous -- and finally God's treating us as righteous for the sake of Christ - cf.

    Rom. 5:1f.. God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

    1518 Heidelberg Disputations

    1519 Leipzig debate

    1521 Diet of Worms

    "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures of by clear reason (for I do not

    trust either in the Pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred

    and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my

    conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is

    neither safe nor right to go against conscience."

    1520 Freedom of the Christian; // Babylonian Servitude of the Church

     Only the gospel reveals the righteousness of God - that is who is righteous and how

    that takes place by faith atone by which one believes the word of God.

     Here too the righteousness of God must not be understood as that righteousness by

    which he is righteous in himself, but as that righteousness by which we are made righteous

    by Him, and this happens through faith in the gospel.

    Thus "righteousness precedes works and works result from it." That is the meaning of

    "through faith for faith" -- we move as in a journey from faith to faith; faith is always living

    and growing.

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 1

James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 2

Lectures on Romans 1:1

     The chief purpose of this letter is to break down, to pluck up, and to destroy all wisdom and righteousness of the flesh. This includes all the works which in the eyes of people or even in our own eyes may be great works. No matter whether these works are done with a sincere heart 1and mind, this letter is to affirm and state and magnify sin, no matter how much someone insists

    that it does not exist, or that it was believed not to exist. Therefore blessed Augustine, On the

    Spirit and the Letter, ch. 7, says: The apostle Paul “fights hard against the proud and the

    conceited and against those who are arrogant on the basis of their works, etc.… In the Letter to the Romans this question is treated so persistently and almost to the exclusion of all others that it may really weary the attention of the reader. But it is a profitable and salutary wearying."

Lectures on Romans 1:3

     Here the door is thrown open wide for the understanding of Holy Scripture, that is, that everything must be understood in relation to Christ.

    We need to know the vocabulary. Hearing the gospel is coming to hear and understand its language; the gospel is its own language; unfaith and unbelief make us understand the promises of God only in human terms, but faith and hearing of the gospel gives us a new language and a new reality of life which enables us to hear the promises of God as they are meant to be heard.

Preface to the Latin Writings (1545)

     At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, "In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live." There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which

    merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live." Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me. Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory. I also found in other terms an analogy, as, the work of God, that is, what God does in us, the power of God, with which he makes us strong, the wisdom of God, with which he makes us wise, the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God. And I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word "righteousness of God." Thus that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise.

Latin Preface to Romans (1522)

     This epistle is in truth the most important document in the New Testament, the gospel in its purest expression. Not only is it well worth a Christian's while to know it word for word by heart, but also to meditate on it day by day. It is the soul's daily bread, and can never be read too often, or studied too much. The more you probe into it the more precious it becomes, and the better its flavor... in essence it is a brilliant light, almost enough to illumine the whole Bible. The first thing needed is to master the terminology. We must learn what St. Paul means by such words as law, sin, grace, faith, righteousness, flesh, spirit, and the like; otherwise we shall read

    and only waste our time.

     1 See p. 3, n. 2.

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 3

     law - fulfilling the law is a matter of the heart; that implies a heart given by the Spirit; that does the law freely and willingly and without grudging; as long as we do it out of duty, it is the law of unfaith; but the power of free obedience comes only with and through faith given through the Spirit. "I believe that I cannot by my own reason and strength believe..." Such faith comes through the hearing of the Word of God in the gospel.

     sin - is nothing more than trusting in external works, works that come not from the heart, but from outside; done by our bodily action; thus sin is ultimately unbelief, not trusting that all my power comes from the power of the Spirit living in my heart through faith.

     grace - the kindness or favor God bears towards us of His own choice; and through which he willingly gives us Christ, pours out the Holy Spirit and his blessings on us.

     It enables us to be accounted entirely and completely righteous because God's grace does not came in pieces; rather it takes us up completely in its embrace for the sake of Christ so that his gifts may take root in us.

     faith - not something dreamed up or a human illusion of the mind; so it doesn't just mean to believe "things" even things about God and Jesus; rather faith is something that God effects in us; it changes us and we are reborn from God.

     It is the living and unshakeable confidence in the grace of God, through which then we gladly seek to do good for the sake of the love and glory of God.

     righteousness - what we call that kind of faith which comes by God's gift and shapes us to do good to all .

     flesh - means everything that is born from the flesh; including the entire self, body and soul, including our reason and all our senses;

     spirit - means that total life that is lived in service by the power of the spirit that is given by the gift of God.

    "Unless you give these terms this connotation, you will never comprehend Paul's epistle to the Romans, nor any other book of Holy Scripture."

Lectures on Romans 3:19-20

     The Law asserts that all are unrighteous, so that all because of this assertion may recognize that they are unrighteous and may cease considering themselves righteous and cease boasting, keep silent about their own righteousness, and become guilty in the face of God’s

    righteousness…This very silence is a praise… so that praising and glorifying God are the same thing, if only we keep silence about praising ourselves and thinking that we are something…

     The works of the Law are those, he says, which take place outside of faith and grace and are done at the urging of the Law, which either forces obedience through fear or allures us through the promise of temporal blessings. But the works of faith, he says, are those which are done out of the spirit of liberty and solely for the love of God. And the latter cannot be accomplished except by those who have been justified by faith, to which justification the works of the Law add nothing, indeed, they strongly hinder it, since they do not permit a man to see himself as unrighteous and in need of justification.

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 4

Lectures on Romans 3:21-31

     On Satan: As long as they feel that they are sinful ... he keeps them in terror before the judgment, and fatigues their conscience almost to the point of despair. He senses what each individual's bent is and tempts them accordingly. But because these people strive so fervently for righteousness, it is not easy to persuade them to try the opposite. So he deals with them as follows: First he helps them in their project -- with the result that they are much too quick in their attempt to get rid of all sin. Then, when they find that they cannot accomplish their purpose, he makes them sad, dejected, despondent, desperate, and utterly upset in their conscience.

     So there is nothing left to us but to remain in sins, and setting our hope on the mercy of God, to pray fervently that we may be freed from them. We are like a convalescent: if they are too much in a hurry to get well, they run the chance of suffering a serious relapse; therefore we must let ourselves be cured little by little and we must bear it for a while that we are feeble. It is enough that our sin displeases us, even though it does not entirely disappear. Christ bears all sins, if only they displease us, for then they are no longer our sins, but his, and his righteousness is ours in turn. (See Freedom of Christian)

Preface to Romans, on chap 4 (1522)

     In chapter 4 to meet certain remonstrances and objections. First he takes up the one that all men commonly make when they hear that faith justifies without works. They say, “Are we,

    then, to do no good works?” Therefore he himself takes up the case of Abraham, and asks, “What did Abraham accomplish, then, with his good works? Were they all in vain? Were his works of no use?” He concludes that Abraham was justified by faith alone, without any works

    so all good works are only external signs which follow out of faith; like good fruit, they demonstrate that a person is already inwardly righteous before God. ….With this powerful

    illustration from the Scriptures, St. Paul confirms the doctrine of faith which he had set forth in chapter 3. Abraham was justified by faith and called the father of all believers. Moreover the law brings about wrath rather than grace, because no one keeps the law out of love for it and pleasure in it. What comes by the works of the law is thus disfavor rather than grace. Therefore faith alone must obtain the grace promised to Abraham, for these examples too were written for our sakes [Rom. 15:4], that we too should believe.

Lectures on Romans, chap 5

     In this chapter, the apostle speaks with very great joy and gladness. In the entire Scripture, there is hardly a text that equals this chapter, at least not in expression. For it describes most clearly the nature and extent of God's grace and mercy toward us.

Preface to Romans, on chap 5 (1522)

     In chapter 5 Paul comes to the fruits or works to which faith gives rise. These are peace, joy, love to God and all persons; in addition, assurance, courage, confidence, and hopefulness in spite of sorrow and suffering. Where faith is at home, it is joined by all things of this kind because of the overflowing goodwill which God shows to us in Christ. For our sakes, God let Him suffer death ... even while we were still enemies. We therefore maintain that faith justifies us apart from any works, although we must not draw the conclusion that we have no need to do any good works.

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 5

Lectures on Romans 5:3

     Hence, since the Lord in many passages is given the name of Savior and Helper in suffering, he who is unwilling to suffer as much as he can deprives Him of His true titles and names. Thus to this man there will be no Jesus, that is, no Savior, because he is unwilling to be damned; for him there will be no God the Creator because he is unwilling to be nothing, so that He may be his Creator. God will be no power, wisdom, or good to him, because he does not want Him to uphold him in his weakness, his foolishness, or his punishment.

Lectures on Romans, chap 6

     This is what the apostle means (verses 7-10): He has Christ who dies no more, and so he too dies no more but lives with Christ forever. For this reason, we are baptized only once, affirming the life of Christ thereby, though we may fall quite often and get up again. For the life of Christ can be recovered again and again, but one can begin it only once.

Preface to Romans, on chap 6 (1522)

     In chapter 6, Paul discusses the special function of faith. The question at issue is that of the battle of the spirit struggling against the flesh, and finally killing outright the sins and passions that remain alive after our justification. He teaches that faith does not free us from sin to the extent that we can relax into laziness and self-assurance, as if sin no longer existed. Throughout our whole lives ... self-discipline is needed in order that we might conform to the death and resurrection of Christ, and also that we might complete the meaning of our baptism; for baptism, too, signifies the death of sin and the new life of grace. The final goal is that we should be entirely liberated from sin, rise again in the body with Christ, and live for ever.

Lectures on Romans, chap 8

     This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that he says to us: Your sins are forgiven you ... And this is what the apostle means when he says that a person is justified by faith: you must believe that it applies to yourself, and not merely to the elect, that Christ died for your sins and gave satisfaction for them.

     It is the same with merits: it is not enough that you believe that we can have them only through Christ. Your faith is whole only if the Spirit of truth gives testimony in your heart that you yourself have them through him, and this becomes a fact when you firmly believe that the works you do are acceptable and agreeable to God whatever they may turn out to be in the long run... And you have this faith... if you feel that you are nothing before God on account of these works. When good works are done with this humility and with this feeling of compunction, they become acceptable in God's sight. It is the same with eternal life: it is not enough to believe that God gives it by grace, but you must have the testimony of the Spirit that you yourself are about to obtain it by God's favor.

Preface to Romans on Chap 8, (1522)

     In chapter 8, Paul gives comfort to those engaged in this warfare, and says that the flesh shall not condemn them. He also shows the nature of flesh and spirit, and that the spirit comes from Christ who gives us his Holy Spirit. This makes us spiritual, constrains the flesh, and assures us that, no matter how violently sin rages within us, we are the children of God as long as we obey the spirit and strive to put sin to death.

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 6

Heidelberg Theses (1518)

    1. The law of God, although the soundest doctrine of life, is not able to bring man to righteousness but rather stands in the way.

    18. It is certain that a person must completely despair of self in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ.

    21. The "theologian of glory" calls the bad good and the good bad. The "theologian of the cross" says what a thing is.

    23. The law brings about the wrath of God, it kills, reviles, makes guilty, judges, condemns all that is not in Christ.

    26. The law says: "Do this!" and it never is done. Grace says: "Believe this one!" and forthwith everything is done.

    28. The love of God does not find its object but rather creates it. Human love starts with the object.

Sermon on Two Kinds of Righteousness (1519)

     There are two kinds of Christian righteousness, just as human sin is of two kinds. The first is alien righteousness... instilled from outside. This is the righteousness of Christ by which he justifies through faith.

     Therefore everything which Christ has is ours, graciously bestowed on us unworthy people out of God's sheer mercy, although we have rather deserved wrath and condemnation. Through faith in Christ, therefore, Christ's righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that he has becomes ours, rather, he himself becomes ours. This righteousness is not instilled all at once, but it begins, makes progress, and is finally perfected at the end through death.

     The second kind of righteousness is our proper righteousness. This is that manner of life spent profitably in good works. This consists in love to one's neighbor and in fear and meekness toward God.

    Therefore through the first righteousness arises the voice of the bridegroom who says to the soul, "I am yours," but through the second comes the voice of the bride who answers, "I am yours." Then the marriage is consummated as the Song of Solomon says, "my beloved is mine and I am his."

     Paul's meaning is that when each person has forgotten himself and emptied himself of God's gifts, he should conduct himself as if his neighbor's weakness, sin, and foolishness were his very own ... For you are powerful, not that you may make the weak weaker by oppression, but that you may make them powerful by raising them up and defending them ... etc.

Freedom of the Christian (1520)

    The whole of the Christian life in a brief form.

    A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all subject to none.

    A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

The Inner Person lives by Faith….The Outer Person lives in the neighbor

     The incomparable benefit of faith is that it unites the soul with Christ as a bride with her bridegroom. It follows that everything they have they hold in common... the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own... Christ is full of grace, life and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death,

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 7

    and damnation. Now let faith come and sins, death and damnation will be Christ's, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul's.

     Here then, faith is truly active in love, finds expression in works of the freest service, cheerfully and lovingly done... We conclude therefore that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and his neighbor... He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love.

     I believe that it has now become clear that it is not enough or in any sense Christian to preach the works, life, and words of Christ as historical facts, as if the knowledge of these would suffice for the conduct of life. Yet this is the fashion among those who must today be regarded as our best preachers. Far less is it sufficient or Christian to say nothing at all about Christ and to teach instead the laws of men and the decrees of the fathers. Now there are not a few who preach Christ and read about him that they may move men's affections to sympathy with Christ, to anger against the Jews, and such childish and effeminate nonsense.

    Rather ought Christ to be preached to the end that faith in him may be established and that he may not only be Christ, but be Christ for you and me, and that what is said of him and is denoted in his name may be effectual in us. Such faith is produced and preserved in us by preaching why Christ came, what he brought and bestowed, what benefit it is to us to accept him. This is done when that Christian liberty which he bestows is rightly taught and we are told in what way we Christians are kings and priests and therefore lords of all and may firmly believe that whatever we have done is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God.

"Pagan Servitude of the Church" (1520)

     There are two things which baptism signifies, namely death and resurrection, i.e. the fulfilling and completion of justification... That is how Paul explains it in Romans 6:4 ... We call this death and resurrection a new creation, a regeneration, a spiritual birth; and it ought not to be understood allegorically, of the death of sin and the life of grace, as is the custom of many, but of a real death and a real resurrection. For the significance of baptism is not a matter of our imagination. Sin is not dead, nor is grace fully received, till the sinful body which we inhabit in this life is no more... When we begin to have faith, at the same time we begin to die to this world and to live to God in the future life. Thus, faith is verily both death and resurrection ... All our experience of life should be baptismal in character, that is, the fulfillment of the sign or sacrament of baptism. We have been freed from all else that we might devote ourselves to baptism alone, that is to say, death and resurrection.

     Righteousness

    By LAW OR By FAITH

    Satan Tricks Trust

    Do Works Cling to God’s Promises

    Focus On Us Focus on God

    Knowledge of Sin Promise of Life

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 8

    Martin Luther on Romans: The Shaping of a Reformer

    Romans: Selected Texts

    The Righteousness of God

    Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to 17 the Jew first and also to the Greek.For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "The one who is righteous will live by faith."

    None is Righteous

    Rom 3:9-11 What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and 10 11 Greeks, are under the power of sin,as it is written: "There is no one who is righteous, not even one;there is no

    one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God

    The Promise of Faith

    Rom 3:19-28 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every 20outh may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. mFor "no human being will be 21justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now, 22apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the 23righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have 24sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that 25is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed;26 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his 27righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; Then what 28becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that

    a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

    Faith Rests on the Promise of God

    Rom 4:13-17 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants 14through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith 15 16is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For

    this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations")-- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

    Demonstration of God's Love: Justification

    Rom 5:1-11 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2

    through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and weboast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4

    and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s

    love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us…8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    Through Baptism - Life

    Romans 6:1-14 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?2 By no means!

    How can we who died to sin go on living in it?3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ

    Jesus were baptized into his death?4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.7 For whoever has died is freed from sin.8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 9

    has dominion over him.10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instrumentsof righteousness.14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

    Inner Conflict 22Romans 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in 23the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making 24me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this 25body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

    Life in the Spirit

    Romans 8:1-17 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set youfree from the law of sin and of death.3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

     10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

     14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”16 it is that very

    Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christif, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

    Romans 8:28-39 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

     31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes,

    who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

     37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Loving the Neighbor

    Romans 12:1-13 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a 2living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but

    be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-- what is good and 3acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has 4 5assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who 6are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ 7 according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching;8 9 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. 10Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one 11 12another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in 13suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

    James L. Boyce. Luther on Romans. January 2008. p. 10

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