Martin Luther - Lesson 10
Justification by Faith
Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.
Justification by Faith
Justification by Faith
Luther, the Pastor: On Gal 2:19b
I. The Medieval Traditions
A. The Mystics - Did not use language of justification
1. Neoplatonic - One needed to climb Jacobs ladder to get to God. At the top one would find the great cloud of unknowing.
2. Romance - Christ the lover. Urging the Christian into a complete and total love of God
3. German - Divine seed planted into the Christian. One grows into divine union with Christ. No preparation for receiving God's grace.
B. Thomism- Thomas Aquinas - Movement from starting point to end point with the following 4 experiences:
1. the infusion of grace
2. the movement of the free will toward God in faith.
3. movement of the free will in recoil from sin
4. remission of guilt
C. Nominalism - Gabriel Biel
Do that which is in you and God will complete the process
II. Luther on Justification
A. Luther's doctrine on justification is directly related to Paul's
(Romans 4:17) - Primary importance
B. Alien Righteousness - Abraham
Once received transforms being, therefore not cheap grace only.
C. Non-imputation of sins/Imputation of righteousness
D. Justification is received in the form of faith/with faith.
1. Christ is not only the object of faith but himself present in faith.
2. Unconditional promise of the gospel is not an if... then... statement but is a because... therefore.... When preaching this you will face opposition. This is an offense of the 'old Adam.'
3. Death to sin language. Death and resurrection not only allegorical but actual experience. When God kills, faith in life is lived by death.
4. Paul: Should we sin therefore so that grace can abound? No, how can we who have died to sin live in it.
III. Justification Today - Ecumenical Climate
A. Signing of the Concordat by both the Lutheran and Catholic Churches
B. Finnish Theologians- St. Paul/Minneapolis Conference
- 0% Complete
Introduction to the life and theology of Martin Luther.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's writings demonstrate his ability to understand and articulate issues that are at the core of the nature of God and man. His theology is distinct from philosophy and consists of many comments on passages in Psalms and Romans.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
The work of Christ when he allowed himself to be crucified on the cross, teaches us about God's nature, our nature and our relationship to God.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.0% Complete
- 0% Complete
Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.0% Complete
This course is an introduction to the life and writings of the great German reformer, Martin Luther. There are 20 lectures totaling approximately 18 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Dr. Gordon Isaac
Justification by Faith
[00:00:02] Let's just spend a moment here. These are the words of Luther on Galatians 219. Be 28. I've been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. The poll shows how he is alive and he states what Christian righteousness is. It is that righteousness by which Christ lives in us. Christ, in my conscious, must become one so that nothing remains in my sight but Christ crucified and risen. If I look only at myself, then I am done for by paying attention to myself and considering what my condition is or should be and what I'm supposed to be doing, I lose sight of Christ. This is an extremely common evil in such conflicts of conscience. Therefore, we must form the habit of leaving ourselves behind, as well as the law and all our works which force us to pay attention to ourselves. We must turn our eyes completely to that bronze serpent. Christ nailed to the cross. We must declare with assurance that he is our righteousness and life for the Christ on whom our gaze is fixed, in whom we exist, and who also lives in us is the victor and the Lord over the law, sin, death, and every evil in Him assure. Comfort has been set forth for us and victory has been granted. Therefore, because Christ clings and dwells in us most in the intimately, we can say Christ is fixed and cemented to me and abides in me the life that I now live. He lives in me. Indeed, Christ himself is the life that I now live.
[00:01:56] Let's pause for prayer. Almighty God. Do you have any farther We come into your presence thanking you that you've asked us to come into your presence and we pray that you would this day continue with us in the work that we have to do. We pray that you would continue your divine warfare in our lives, winning us over from the heart so that we might finally, at that last day, yield up everything and say, Yes, Jesus is Lord. And finally, in that moment, in that wonderful anticipated moment, we will come to the place where we really can will the will of God. Lord. Now we pray for your church and we ask that you would raise up leaders. And I pray for each and every one here studying, and we ask that you would bless them in their lives and their ministries as they prepare themselves for the life ahead as Christians in your service. Be with us now. In Christ name we ask it. Amen. Okay. Tell you what we're going to do today. We're going to talk about Luther on justification. The snow of this last week interrupted our sequence and schedule. And so today, I want to talk just a little bit about justification by faith. Last time we talked about the righteousness of God. So in many respects, you are well prepared for some of the items that we'll be talking about today. But I wanted to to work on this a bit more specifically. And so let's just dive right in. Luther, on justification, we'll talk very, very briefly here simply about some medieval traditions, medieval backgrounds. We won't do so in too much detail. I just want to give you kind of a an impressionistic brushstroke approach to some of these backgrounds so that you're aware that the Church of the Middle Ages was not monolithic.
[00:04:08] There were a number of different views that were being taught. And this is the background, of course, which Luther is is responding to, reacting to and therefore developing his own thoughts against. So it's important just to have some very, very basic kind of of a feel for what's going on here. First of all, of course, there were the mystics, the mystics, and there was not simply one kind of mysticism going on. There were at least three different kinds. And no doubt, if one got very specialized in this field, one could identify other sub variations of the mystical approach to understanding one's relationship with with Christ. First of all, there's the neo platonic mystics. There were mystics who believed that one needed to climb Jacob's ladder, to climb Jacob's ladder in order to come into the presence of God. By climbing this ladder, one would ultimately reach the great cloud of unknowing, and it would be in this great cloud of unknowing that God would reveal himself directly and immediately to the heart and mind of the believer. And it was not a process which was rationally achieved, but one in which the experience or the ecstasy of the union between the human life and divine reality would come together. And so you have you have mystics along the lines of Dionysius and some others who would urge one to to approach the Godhead through a series of either practices of projection or a kind of resignation in which one would yield their life over to this kind of ecstatic experience. There's a certain kind of romance mysticism, where Christ is seen as the lover and the Christian believer embracing the truth of God in that way. So the language of these kinds of mystics is really centered on that kind of love relationship.
[00:07:08] Yeah. Uh huh. There's there's a lot of stuff going on there. Bernard of Clairvaux an interesting sort. He does have a number of steps to to a kind of perfection and kind of higher Christian existence. And certainly the love of God is what one is working on in all of this. And so the language of love comes through. He preached a whole series on the Song of Solomon, and he actually was, if I remember correctly, there was a series of almost 12 sermons that he he does on the the kiss. Passes between these two. So in some ways, there's kind of there's there's real love imagery there. And it's it's a certain form of mysticism that is is urging the Christian into a complete and total love of God. There's the German kind of mysticism, which talks about the divine seed being planted into the life of the Christian. And that seed growing up in the soul in such a manner that the Christian is fuzed with the living God. And this actually has some some resonance with the idea of the deification of the believer. But in this particular form of mysticism, there is no preparation as such. For the grace of God. The grace of God must come on the initiative of God alone. And so God works His will in the life of the believer, quite apart from any efforts that the believer might make. So in this particular form of German mysticism, you have you have the soul of the believer coming into intimate contact with the inner life of God. Johann, As Tyler and the theologian Deutsche are part of this kind of mysticism. There's a real emphasis here on union with Christ. Christ then becomes the center of one's existence.
[00:09:42] And in a few places, some Luther scholarship has shown that there is some interesting correspondence between this kind of German mysticism and what Luther later does. And of course, we've already seen, have we, in the two kinds of righteousness where Luther talks about the Christian can say with confidence that my works or my righteousness is as though I had done the works of Christ. Christ is so much a part of me then that that's true. The happy exchange that Luther talks about in the freedom of a Christian also places the living Christ in very close proximity with the life of the believer. Now in Tome ism and Thomas Aquinas. What you have in terms of justification? Well, perhaps one thing that we need to say before we move on from the mystics is the mystics really didn't use the language of justification. They used other kinds of language of union, you know, of the lover or of the great cloud of unknowing. These are the kinds of of term terminologies that these different mysticism, shoes, they don't use the terminology of justification. Now, St Thomas Aquinas does use the terminology of justification. And for Saint Thomas Aquinas, justification by faith Justification is a movement from a terminus ikwo to a terminus quem that is from a starting point to an ending point. And if you analyze that movement, the starting point to the ending point, it begins with a the infusion of grace. You see, after the fall, it's true that humanity, while still retaining much of the image of God, the image of God has been marred, as it were, in human life, through through the fall, through sin. And it's quite impossible for human beings, therefore, to find their way back to God.
[00:12:01] They simply can't do it. What's needed, therefore, is an infusion of grace to help fill up that lack which sin has drained from the perfect life God originally gave to Adam. And so this infusion of grace comes in in order to start this movement of justification of all off. So actually, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, God is the one who makes the first step toward believers. It's the infusion of grace be The next item that one could analyze in this movement is a movement of the free will toward God in faith. The movement of the free will toward God in faith. So once the infusion of grace comes to the life of the believer, that enables the believer, then to direct the free will to love God. You see, the problem of sin is that we love to create the creation as opposed to the creator. We are our affections are attached to the created order. We have become idolatrous in that way, and the Creator is not the sole focus and object of our life as Christians. So what happens here in the second movement of justification is the movement of the free will toward God and faith. So. So it is that the will is brought back into a state where it can make its first feeble attempts at following after God. We see a movement of the free will in recoil from sin. So a you have the infusion of grace. B you've got the movement of the free world toward God and faith, and C you've got a movement of the free will in recoil from sin and D you have the remission of of guilt. In the medieval structure of salvation roughly corresponds to a business transaction. Since the fall was conceived of as a loss of grace.
[00:14:14] The solution was to receive the necessary grace to return the state of righteousness. This was combined with the Aristotelian notion of ethics by which one becomes good by doing good things. And against this, of course, we've already seen that Luther like to point out that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Only a good tree can produce good fruit. So Saint Thomas Aquinas talks about justification, and he does So as you know, this movement from a term saw quo to a term inside Kwame. Now, after Saint Thomas Aquinas, there is another form of teaching on salvation that one finds in Gabrielle Biel. And in Gabrielle Beal. What you have is the scholastic notion of the future in quotes say est do that which is in you and God will complete that process. You must do that which is in you and providing you don't place any blocks to grace in the way of God, then you will be just fine. It's not like the common thing even today. God helps those who help themselves. God helps those who helps themselves. Yes. In some ways. There's there's some correspondence to this, of course. Gabrielle Beal would want to say all along that his understanding of salvation is, you know, runs because of grace. It's grace, God's grace that allows us to come into a saving relationship with him. So but there are certain correspondences, and it is based on the idea that one needs to have complete love toward God so that one cannot be saved apart from a faith that is formed by love. So this is still part and last time in talking about the righteousness of God, we talked about Luther's approach to this business of faith formed by love. So Nominalism, particularly in the person of Gabrielle Biel, is a a refining, as it were, of the scholastic form of the doctrine to say you deal with a, b, b i e l Gabrielle Biel.
[00:17:05] B i eel. Gabriel. Okay. Now then, so that just very, very briefly, we haven't gone into any detail here on, on the the mystics. But, but this gives you a background. It's against this and it's quite, quite a diverse background. There are quite a number of different theories. Now, I would entertain a paper, for example, on a comparison between, you know, Luther and Gabrielle Deal or Luther and Saint Thomas Aquinas on the way of salvation. That'd be a great paper. It would get you familiar with, you know, a couple of of different items within the thought world of Luther. And indeed, you know, if you were to take Luther and St Thomas on on Salvation, that would get you somewhat familiar with a certain slice of the Roman Catholic tradition, which wouldn't be a bad thing for you. Okay. Let's talk just a little bit about Luther's doctrine of justification by faith. First of all, what we'd have to say is that, according to Luther, justification is decisive for all theological questions for opening, as well as carrying on their discussion. It is with this doctrine that the church stands or fall. He Luther, would say that it really it is a matter of the church's standing or falling. Now, if one applies that directly to the business of pastoral care, one could one could say that it's really a matter of I've seen that if you can speak the language of justification, speak theologically. So that justification takes place in the lives of your people. That's really the work of pastoral ministry. When that's not done, the church is subject to all kinds of problems and will ultimately decay. As a matter of fact, Luther says that that's the problem with the Roman Catholic Church of his own day.
[00:19:14] They don't know this article of faith. They don't speak it. Preach it. See it realized in the common laity. And that is the problem. The article of justification is master and Prince, Lord, leader and judge of all kinds of teachings which preserves and guides all church lead teaching and establishes our conscience before God. So since Luther. Nothing in this article can be given up or compromised, says Luther. Even if heaven and earth and things temple should be destroyed on this article rests all that we teach and practice against the Pope, the devil and the world. Therefore, we must be quite certain and have no doubts about it. Otherwise, all is lost. And the Pope, the devil and all our adversaries will gain the victory. That's how Luther expresses this important doctrine in the small called articles. In the same year, in 1537, Luther admonishes his pupils in the introduction to a disputation. We cannot emphatically and often enough sharpen our thinking on this doctrine. We must devote ourselves to it with the greatest theological diligence and seriousness. For neither reason nor Satan is so opposed to anything else as they are to this. No other article of faith is so threatened by the danger of false teaching. So, thus, with the single exception of the Doctrine of the Lord's Supper, Luther throughout his life devoted more theological work, strength and passion to this doctrine than any other. Now, then, it's interesting to note that, and it shouldn't surprise us at all, because we've already seen this in some ways in dealing with Luther's view of righteousness, that primarily Luther's doctrine of justification is directly related to Paul's. And of course, you know that in the Pauline Corpus Romans chapter four versus one through seven, you have this picture, an image of Abraham, and Abraham is called out of the order of Chaldeans, and his faith is credited to him as righteousness.
[00:21:32] And it's on the basis of this text that Luther really begins to develop his understanding of justification. And it's related to Paul's understanding. We've seen two in our readings already up to this point in class that Luther is quite clear on the matter. This righteousness that we receive from Christ is an alien righteousness. It is a righteousness which is outside of us. It is a righteousness which comes in and with the person of Christ. It is not a righteousness of our own that we possess. This is a righteousness from God, and it is revealed in His people. It's an alien righteousness. It is extraneous outside of us. And so because of that fact, it is possible for Luther to make the statements that he does in that little treatise two kinds of righteousness. Now, since it's true that it's an alien righteousness, it is precisely because it's complete in the person and work of Christ that it is now complete for us. But if it is an alien righteousness, it does not remain alien. It is not simply outside of us, because of course that's the basis or the beginning of the thought that justification by faith is merely cheap grace. Of course, the the Roman Catholic complaint about Luther's doctor justification by faith is that it is simply a legal fiction. God declares you something that you're not, and then you go on living like you're not. And that's a terrible problem. And indeed, sometimes when you hear the doctrine justification by faith presented, that's precisely what comes out, isn't it? God loves you. God always has. And there it is. I mean, it's it's forgiveness without repentance. And if you ever hear justification presented in that sort of way, you know that it's not the kind of justification that Luther's talking about.
[00:23:43] Because when Luther talks about justification, it's always the kind of thing which has an integral effect with the life of the Christian. It moves that person on to the work that a Christian gets to. Now, alien righteousness, and you can go back in terms of the readings you've already made in Luther and underscore this point. It's the non imputation of sins and the imputation of righteousness. Of course, in that passage in Romans chapter four, the Apostle cites Psalm 32, and in his citation of this Psalm justification, as Luther would understand, it consists in the fact that God does not impute sin but forgives it. God treats him and sins as though they were not present. He does not know them anymore. Described positively the forgiveness of sins or the non imputation of sin is the imputation of righteousness. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner. God sees the sinner as one with Christ. He forgives His sin and considers the Senate to be righteous, for Christ's sake. Thus, the righteousness granted to the sinner is not his own produced by himself, but an alien righteousness belonging to Jesus Christ. Righteousness is not a quality of man as filth, as philosophy and the scholastic theology determined by it I thought it to be. Rather, it consists in being righteous only through God's gracious imputation of Christ's righteousness. That is, it is a righteousness outside of one OC. We find that further justification is received in the form of a faith. Justification is received in the form of faith. It's not enough to say that faith receives justification or that man receives justification in faith. Luther's thought must be expressed more definitively. Justification is received with faith that is in the form of faith. Faith is the work and gift of God.
[00:25:57] God justifies a man by giving him faith. You know, the real problem is this In our sinful state, we have simply become faithless. And so the whole point of God's saving action is to move us to a place where we. Once again believe in God, placing faith in him. We've held him off at arm's length. We've said no to him. But now in faith, we come to receive him, to honor him as God. And, you know, you can just go right back to the freedom of a Christian and go right down through those points that Luther deals with in that that treatise. Now, if we want to take just a bit of a sidelong step here, we can put it we can put all of this in a little different context. Luther begins his Roman's commentary by setting forth a kind of hermeneutical key, which sets him off from previous tradition and indicates a major structural difference. He says it almost in a kind of an offhand way when he says this The exodus of the people Israel has for a long time been interpreted to signify the transition from vice to virtue. But one should rather interpret it as the way from virtue to grace, from virtue to the grace of Christ, because virtues are often the greater and worse faults, the less they are regarded as such, and the more powerfully they subject to themselves. All human affections beyond all other goods. So also the right side of Jordan was more fearful than the left one. Now, what's Luther trying to get at here? He's saying, Look, normally the Exodus story in medieval tradition is interpreted allegorically or metaphorically, if you will, as the exodus from vice to virtue. But he's saying, wait a minute.
[00:27:52] Rather than that, we need to see we need to see that this is actually a movement from virtue to the grace of Christ, because he's saying we need to be forgiven not simply for our moral failings, but also for our supposed moral successes. Insofar as we take credit for that and think that there's no moral sin or no moral vice that's attached with that. So it's a very interesting construction here. See, justification is not simply a matter of of forgiving our past sins, but justification is a way of speaking about our existence in God so that it really is focused and finds its center in an understanding of grace. This turns on its head all notions of vice vice and virtue, because we have to be forgiven even of our virtue according to this. So it's a rather interesting and trenchant way of beginning this. Now, we also see that in the medieval doctrine, what you have is you have the exodus from vice to Virtue. That's what just what we describe as in Thomas Aquinas, with his understanding of justification as this movement from a terminus, quote to a terminus, when the medieval structure of salvation roughly corresponds to a business transaction since the fall was conceived of as a loss of grace. The solution was to receive the necessary grace to return to the state of righteousness. This was combined with the Aristotelian notion of ethics which one becomes good by doing good things. But we see that that's not the way that Luther handles this doctrine of justification by faith For Luther, it's not the law for Paul and Luther, It is not the law which offers possibility. It's the justifying word of the gospel. Thus we are declared righteous for Jesus sake.
[00:29:57] It's an unconditional promise, not an if then promise, but it because therefore and you know, the the if then thing if you work hard, then you will get a good grade on your paper. If you eat all of your few food, then you will get your dessert. If you become very proficient at preaching and grow a large church, then they might ask you to take that very prestigious position within your denominational structure or whatever else. If then that's the way this life works. It works according to the structure of the law, but the unconditional promise that comes to us in the Gospel is not an if then promise, but a because therefore, because Jesus died and rose again, because this one man has taken upon himself the sin of the world. And. He has risen from the dead. He was not conquered by sin because this is true. Therefore, now you are declared righteous. It's entirely and totally unconditional. Now, when you go around preaching that kind of stuff, you'll run into opposition. Let me just give you. Let me just tell you this fact. When you begin to say, well, you are righteous on the basis of of what crisis done Christ alone, then people will raise it. But. But isn't there something I have to do for salvation? Isn't there just a little bit? Some little bit? Don't I have to decide for Jesus? Don't I have to go down front? Don't I have to raise my hand? Don't I have to do something? That's, you know, the immediate question that arises. And really, the answer to that age old question is no. There is nothing that you can do for your salvation. According to Luther, According to Paul and Luther. It is a flat out, unconditional declaration.
[00:32:15] Now, that is an offense to the old Adam. And the old Adam was. But. But can I get in here somewhere? Don't I have to do something? Isn't there some religious exercise that might help this process along the way? You know, hey, I'm not an all bad guy. I've got some virtue attached to me, too. And so all of these questions bubble up. But those questions that bubble up really are the death rattle of the old Adam that does not want to die. Because what happens, you see, in the unconditional promise of the gospel is the old Adam is put to death. The reason for being for the old Adam doing the religious program or process is put to an end dead stop. And that's why this is an offensive and polemic doctrine. When Saint Paul preached it in the synagogues, he was thrown out for his efforts and sometimes beaten, and occasionally they wanted to stone him. And in today's context, there are all kinds of objections to this kind of preaching justification. According to some, only being declared just, they say, is and as if theology. Isn't this a species of cheap grace? Must not justification mean also being made just. And so you have this objective subjective kind of issue that's engaged. Does it make just persons or is it simply analytic judgment made in anticipation of one's actually becoming just in the end? There are all kinds of objections to the doctrine of justification as it arises in our own time. But Luther forges ahead. And one of the things that he wants to say is that we are simultaneously just and center. And this is to be understood as total seat's justification by unconditional decree means a complete break with thinking in terms of legal schemes and processes.
[00:34:25] Luther insists throughout his commentary that it is not so much the so-called godless sinner, but precisely the righteous who think in terms of a legal process and intrinsic moral progress which renders grace fictional necessary. But the Apostle says in Galatians 221 four if justification is by the law, Christ died to no avail. Now, it's interesting to note here that justification solar for day cannot be understood or captured in the legal metaphor alone. Paul, as well as Luther resorts to the death life language when pushed with the persistent questions regarding work works. Shall we sin that grace may abound? Paul Moves to death Life Language. ROMANS Chapter six Notes. He raises the question, since Paul raises the question himself. Well, if there's nothing to do for our salvation, if there's really nothing that I can contribute to coming into this great relationship with God, if I'm righteous on the basis of what he's done or not what I've done, then shall we sin that grace shall abound? Now, that's the most radical form, I suppose, that the question can be posed in a ball. But Paul does that for us and raises the ante. What's his answer? He moves directly to this death. Death? Life language? No. How can we who have died too soon continue in it. Interesting. What happens here? So for both Paul and for Luther. Justification is not simply a matter of a doctrine of a transaction, as according to a theology of glory. This is how you have to understand justification. And if you just believe this doctrine, justification by faith, then you'll be saved. No, that's not the case. Justification is actually a description of the way that we speak as theologians of the cross. We speak in such a manner that these things are accomplished in our hearers in Babylonian captivity of the church.
[00:36:45] Speaking of baptism, Luther says, this baptism thus signifies two things death and resurrection. That is a full and complete justification. When the minister immerses the child in the water, it signifies death. And when he draws it forth again, it signifies life. Thus, Paul expounds that in Romans six we were buried, therefore with Christ by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. This death and resurrection we call the new creation, regeneration and spiritual birth. This should not be understood only allegorically as the death of sin and the life of grace, as many understand it, but as actual death and resurrection. For baptism is not a false sign. It's an interesting here that Luther in this passage talks about justification in terms of death and resurrection, in the bondage of the will. And you'll get to this. Perhaps some of you have already passed this point in your book where it says, when God quickens, he does so by killing, when he justifies, He does so by pronouncing guilty. And when he carries up to heaven, he does so by bringing down to hell, as Scripture says, the Lord kill us and make us alive. He bring us down to the grave and bring us up. When God kills, faith in life is exercised in death. We we could, you know, pile up these kinds of quotations from Luther. But you see, what's going on here is for Luther justification by faith is not something that can be held within the usual legal matter for the process of getting better and better. That just doesn't work for Luther and indeed for Paul. All of that is turned upside down on its head when one talks about justification in in another passage.
[00:38:42] Luther says it this way. Faith, however, is a divine work in us, which changes us, makes us to be born anew of God. According to John one, it kills the old atom and makes us altogether different men in heart and spirit, in mind and powers. And it brings with it the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done. But before the question is asked, it has already done them. So to hear and believe the word of justification for Jesus sake is to die and to be raised with him for Luther. Justification by faith is not just a doctrine, but a death and resurrection. Joining us to the living Christ. Okay. Let's make just a couple of quick comments as we close here and then we can get some comments from you and we can kick some things around. Where are we in terms of justification by faith today? This could be class all its own. There is just a lot of stuff that's going on here. And I want to just in expressionistic way, give you indication of some of the things that are going on. First of all, let's talk about the ecumenical climate. My outline here is not all that it needs to be here. The ecumenical climate will start here. The ecumenical climate is really very interesting because just in October of this last year, there was the signing of the concordat between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church on this issue of justification by faith. You can log on, it's on the Web and you can read the document. But very interestingly, the Roman Catholic tradition has always had its problems with the Lutheran expression of justification by faith, because it is forensic, it's an alien righteousness, and it does not seem to include this faith formed by life.
[00:41:02] It does not seem to include the infused righteousness that the Roman Catholic tradition has always wanted to speak about. However, in this concordat, it's interesting to note that the language of similar use to set piccata is used something which has never been true in the past. The Roman Catholic tradition has rejected that formulation by Luther, claiming it's simply not true in the Roman Catholic tradition. One comes, one is blessed with the infusion of grace. And so then one then is in the process of becoming made righteous. And that's the emphasis in their doctrine. Luther, as we've seen, has taken just a bit of a different tack. But in the past, the Roman Catholic tradition has never agreed to this notion of simultaneously saint and sinner as total realities. So it's very interesting to note that there is a lot of dialog between these two major traditions, and there has been a signing of this concordat. Now, how much movement there is in reality in terms of an understanding of these things, you know, on on the ground, in terms of laity and in terms of actual numbers within the church is another matter. But it is a very interesting movement in terms of this discussion of justification by faith. One other very interesting development within the issue of justification by faith today comes from a new a new way of looking at Luther, and it's being led by the Finnish theologians. In 1993, there was a Luther Congress held in in Saint Paul, Minnesota, actually Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Minnesota. I happened to attend that Luther Congress and there was a delegation from Finland. And these were very interesting characters who, over the course of a number of decades, had begun to develop a new way of looking at Luther.
[00:43:25] In part, what the Finns are doing. Well, there's been Finnish research on Luther since the very beginning of the 20th century, and some very good some very good studies on Luther are coming out of the Finns. But starting in about 1975, a new approach, a new reading of Luther has been developed by these Finnish scholars. And essentially what they wanted to say is that the German theologians in the German treatment, modern treatment of Luther, has been overly dependent upon a particular philosophical view of Luther, and that they've not given Luther his due in terms of his own, his own time frame in his own context. Further, their research was prompted by discussions between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church of Finland. And in this set of talks and dialogs, they were seeking for a starting point from which to begin their discussions. They hit on this this notion of how one is saved. According to the Orthodox tradition, there is an understanding that human beings are actually deified. We come into relationship with God and there is a deification, as it were, of humanity in the process. Well, of course, Luther's never been read that way, and it would seem that Luther stands opposed to this understanding of salvation. But the Finns are asserting that there is much in Luther that might lead us to a different conclusion. One of these theologians. Says that according to the reformer, justifying faith does not merely signify a reception of the forgiveness imputed to a human being for the sake of the merit of Christ. Being a real sharing participation in Christ. Faith stands also, he says, for participation in the institution of blessing, righteousness and life that has taken place in Christ. So Christ himself is life, righteousness and blessing, because God is all in all or or is all of this by nature and in substance.
[00:45:56] Therefore, he claims justifying faith means participation in God in Christ person. And he once again points to the happy exchange. He says that Christ is to be understood as a gift. And of course, we've been saying some of these already. Paul Althouse points out that Christ is not simply the object of faith, but is present in faith. And these Finnish scholars are taking it one step further to say that there is a real identification between Christ and the believer. And this moves rather closely to the notion of Theodosius I within the orthodox paradigm. So this is a really interesting sort of project that the Finns are undertaking. And what they want to say is that in some manner, because Christ is present in us, the believer participates therefore in the divine nature. So there's a very interesting thing that's going on with their understanding. So those two items, the ecumenical climate today, the signing of the concordat between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, and also the Finnish interpretation of Luther emphasizing its relative correspondence with this understanding of Theodosius are two very interesting developments on the most recent scene in Luther studies in justification.