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Luther on 1 John 2:2

February 20, 2008

2. And He is the expiation for our sins.

He does not sit at the right hand of the Father to terrify us, but He is the expiation. Nevertheless, we seek other advocates, others to render satisfaction and make expiation for our sins. Our sins are too great. They cannot be atoned for with our works; this can be done only with Christ’s bitter suffering and with the shedding of His precious blood. Sin causes heartache and depicts Christ for us differently from what He is; it shows Him to us through a colored glass. Even some teachers have done this, even the very saintly martyr Cyprian. But these things must be proclaimed to those who have been terrified, not to those who are presumptuous. Christ, who does not spurn a contrite and humble heart, wants to be the Lord and Author of life, not of sin.

But also for the sins of the whole world.

It is certain that you are a part of the world. Do not let your heart deceive you by saying: “The Lord died for Peter and Paul; He rendered satisfaction for them, not for me.” Therefore let everyone who has sin be summoned here, for He was made the expiation for the sins of the whole world and bore the sins of the whole world. For all the godless have been put together and called, but they refuse to accept. Hence it is stated in Is. 49:4: “I have labored in vain.” Christ is so merciful and kind that if it were possible, He would weep for every sinner who is troubled. Of all men He is the mildest, of all the gentlest. With every member He feels more pity than Peter felt under the rod and the blows. Take any man who is extraordinarily kind and gentle. Then you would know that Christ is much kinder to you. For just as He was on earth, so He is in heaven. Thus Christ has been appointed as the Bishop and Savior of our souls (cf. 1 Peter 2:25). But at His own time He will come as Judge. Since we see this, let us give no occasion to gratify lust.

Martin Luther, “The Catholic Epistles,” in Luther’s Works, 30:236-237.

A few days ago Jerry referenced this remark from Luther. I finally found it.

I will insert it into my Luther file on 1 Jn 2:2 later.

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