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Justification by Faith

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


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

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