Monday, 7 September 2009

Luther on the Right Use of One's Baptism

In my sermon yesterday,in the course of applying the Gospel text on the faith of the Syro-Pheonician woman (Mark 7:24ff) and how it moved her to come to Jesus for help in her time of need, I touched on what it means to be in a 'state of grace', evangelically conceived*, and why our sins and the sense of unworthiness they provoke in us should not prevent us from coming to our Lord in faith with our needs in the expectant hope that he will indeed answer our prayers. Unfortunately, I only came across this quote from Luther last night, else I would have used it in my sermon:

"God pledges himself not to impute to you the sins which remain in your nature after baptism, neither to take them into account nor condemn you because of them. He is satisfied and well pleased if you are constantly striving and desiring to conquer these sins and at your death to be rid of them."

From The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism, 1519 (American Edition of Luther's Works, 35:34).

* As opposed to how this term is conceived in Romanism, where a 'state of grace' means the absence of mortal sin and is a mandated requirement for a worthy reception of communion. This definition not only leads to the question of 'What is a mortal sin?'(Lutherans would point to the breaking of the First Commandment as the root mortal sin), but it also surely means misinforming the conscience of the Roman Catholic believer as to the offensive and condemning nature of every act of sin (cf. James 2, the second lection yesterday, "everyone who stumbles..."), whether internal or external, committed in thought, word or deed, not to mention the damning nature of original sin. Such a doctrine reveals a superficial understanding of sin on a par with popular "evangelicalism".

2 comments:

David Cochrane said...

I dearly thank our Saviour for that blessed gift of baptism. It is wonderful to recall the promises each morning and go on with confidence to our daily round.

God's peace. †

Acroamaticus said...

Amen!
Welcome, David.