Justification as the Marriage Union of Faith (Martin Luther)

wedding-rings

This is one of my favorite portions in Luther’s writings and one of my favorite illustrations.

The following is from Luther’s short work Freedom of a Christian.

The third incomparable benefit of faith is that it unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom. By this mystery, as the Apostle teaches, Christ and the soul become one flesh [Eph. 5:31–32]. And if they are one flesh and there is between them a true marriage—indeed the most perfect of all marriages, since human marriages are but poor examples of this one true marriage—it follows that everything they have they hold in common, the good as well as the evil. Accordingly the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own. Let us compare these and we shall see inestimable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?

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The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Abridged Version) by John Calvin

The following is a summary of and reflection upon an abridged version of Calvin’s Institutes produced by Tony Lane and Hilary Osborne (see it here on Amazon). I should note that I did not read the final book, Book IV: Outward Means by which God Helps Us, in its entirety; and therefore, it was directly not taken into consideration in the writing of this review.

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Summary

Calvin’s understanding of how men know God, know themselves, and the relationship between these two types of knowledge is seemingly foundational to the entirety of his theology (1:1:1). For Calvin, knowledge of self is intrinsically linked to knowledge of God while knowledge of God results in proper assessment of self (1:1:1). Genuine knowledge of self necessarily assumes knowledge of God. One cannot fully grasp the existence of the creature apart from his fundamental relationship to his Creator and Sustainer (1:1:1). Comprehension of man’s falleness assumes an ideal, one that is rooted in God’s creative-design; transgression implies the reality of Judge (1:1:1). On the other hand, without knowledge of God, no one ever truly knows himself (1:1:2). Lacking insight into the purpose for which He was created, ignorance of his original nature and its divine intent flourish. Unaware of God’s standard of righteousness, man consequently assesses his moral condition inaccurately (2:1:1).

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Resurrection | The Pauline Epistles

The following belongs to a series entitled “An Introductory Biblical Theology of Resurrection.” Read other posts belonging to this series here.

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The Pauline Epistles

Of all Biblical authors, the resurrection is most prolific in Paul’s writings.[1] Of first importance, Paul confesses the bodily resurrection and appearance of Christ (1 Cor 15:3-8; Gal 1:1; 1 Thes 1:10; 2 Tim 2:8). Christ is raised for the imputation of His righteousness to all who are united to Him by faith (Rom 4:25),[2] and lives to make intercession for all those for whom He died (Rom 8:34). But even more so, the central motif in Paul’s resurrection-framework is union with Christ.[3]

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Resurrection | The Gospel of John

The following belongs to a series entitled “An Introductory Biblical Theology of Resurrection.” Read other posts belonging to this series here.

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The Gospel of John

The resurrection, both Christ’s and the believer’s, plays a central role in John’s Gospel. Because Jesus is one with the Father (5:17-18), His will is exactly the Father’s (5:19, 21; 6:37-40), and “whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (5:19). Just as God raises the dead (a prerogative seen in the OT as belonging to God alone [2 Kings 5:17][1]), so Christ raises whomever He wills. Christ came to do His Father’s will (6:38)—to lose none of those whom the Father had given Him to save, but to secure their resurrection (6:39-40). And because Jesus has life in Himself as the Father has life in Himself (5:26), presumably He is able to raise others to life (5:25-29). As Christ has life in Himself, all those in whom He abides and who abide in Him have life (6:53-58). Those who hear the voice of Jesus (5:25) are drawn by the Father to come to Christ (6:44), believe on Christ (6:47), metaphorically feed on His flesh and blood (John 6:54), and are raised to life in some sense now—they have eternal life presently and in this sense will never die (John 5:25; 6:40, 47, 57-58; 11:25-26). But after physically dying, they will also be raised bodily on the last day (John 6:40; 44, 54; 11:24). All will certainly be raised, but some to life and others to judgment (John 5:28-29).[2]

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