Martin Luther - Lesson 13

Luther on Law and Gospel

Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 13
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Luther on Law and Gospel

Luther on Law and Gospel

Luther, the Pastor: Luke 24:46-47

Selections and discussion from Ferde's, Where God Meets Man

Law is not to be confused with laws.

Luther emphasizes 2 uses of the law

1. civil use

2. convict of sin.

3. there is debate as to whether Luther held to the normative 3rd.

The voice of law...pierces the conscience of the individual

Gospel is the end of the law, something new.


Luther and the Concept of the Law

I. The problem of Law in the Book of Galatians

A. Paul's eschatological understanding of law.

B. The Law was not given by God but by intermediaries (Galatians 3:19)

C. Paul's view overturned in the face of Marcionite heresy

D. The church maintained that Christ's appearance consisted in a revision of the law.

E. The result is that 'new' becomes a bad word in the church.


II. Luther's 'commentary' on Galatians is a massive attempt to set law in its proper setting

A. Luther speaks of 2 ages/aeons

B. Luther points to the three advents of Christ

C. Luther asserts that the law must be fixed really, not only theoretically

1. LW 26:316

2. 3 comings of Christ in the flesh, in our souls, and the appearing at end time.


III. The Problem of the third use of the Law

A. Antinomianism forces break beyond faith

B. 3rd use tries to save law by making it manageable

C. Sorting out the issue

All Lessons
  • Introduction to the life and theology of Martin Luther.

  • Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.

  • Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

  • 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.

  • Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).

  • Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.

  • Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.

  • Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.

  • Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

  • Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

  • The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.

  • Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.

  • Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.

  • The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.

  • Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.

  • Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.

  • Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.

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.