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Martin Luther on 2 Peter 2:1

August 29, 2007

Martin Luther on 2 Peter 2: 1:

Even denying the Master who bought them.

“Oh,” they say, “we by no means deny the Lord!” Then if one says: “If you are redeemed through Christ, and if His blood wipes out your sin, then what do you propose to wipe out with your way of life?” they reply: “Ah, faith alone does not do this; the works must contribute to it!” In this way, to be sure, they confess the Lord Christ with their lips, but with their hearts they deny Him completely. 

Behold, what powerful words St. Peter uses! He says: “They deny the Master who bought them.” They should be under Him as under a Master who owns them. But now, even though they believe that He is a Lord who has ransomed all the world with His blood, yet they do not believe that they are ransomed and that He is their Master. They say that although He ransomed and redeemed them, this is not enough; one must first make amends and render satisfaction for sin with works. Then we say; “If you take away your sin yourself and wipe it out, what, then has Christ done? You surely cannot make two Christs who take away sin. He should, and wants to, be the only One who puts sin aside. If this is true, I cannot make bold to wipe out sin myself. But if I do this, I cannot say or believe that Christ takes it away.” This amounts to a denial of Christ. For even if they regard Christ as a Lord, yet they deny that He redeemed them. To be sure, they believe that He sits up there in heaven and is a Lord; but that it is His real work to take away sin, this they take from Him and ascribe to their own works. Thus they leave Him no more than the name and the title. But they want to have His work, His power, and His office themselves. Therefore Christ speaks truly (Matt. 24:5): “Many will come in My name, saying: ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” For they really do not say: “My name is Christ.” No, they say: “I am Christ.” For they arrogate to themselves the very office that belongs to Christ and thus push Him from the throne and sit on it themselves. This is so apparent that no one can deny it. Therefore St. Peter calls them damned or destructive sects, for they are all running straight to hell. Consequently, I think that among a thousand scarcely one is saved, For he who wants to be saved must say: “My obedience, my chastity, etc., do not save me; my Works remove no sin from me.” But how many there are who have this notion and remain in such a damnable estate!

Martin Luther, “The Catholic Epistles,” in Luther’s Works, ed., by Jaroslav Pelikan, 30:171-172.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 18, 2008 6:02 am

    Thankyou for this post. I, Enjoyed the freshness
    of it.

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