20 June 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Christ did not earn only *gratia*, "grace," for us, but also *donum*, "the gift of the Holy Spirit," so that we might have not only forgiveness of, but also cessation of, sin. - Martin Luther, *On the Councils* [1539], AE 41:113


Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't meant literally?

If it's "gratia", by definition it cannot be earned. To buy God’s Grace is impossible NOT because the atttempt would violate some (arbitrary) ground rules, nor yet because we cannot come up with a sufficient price, but becauses the attempt would fail to recognize the character of God's Love and Grace as universal, unconditional, and freely given beforehand. To suppose that God’s Love had somehow to be obtained insults God’s magnanimity. Even Jesus Christ cannot literally earn or buy or win God’s Love (even though we sometimes use that figure of speech, to indicate what an ordeal He must undergo to save us), because God’s Love and favor pre-dates His coming in the flesh.


WM Cwirla said...

Indeed, God's love and grace are universal, unconditional, and freely given beforehand, even from "before the foundations of the world" IN CHRIST. Ephesians 1-2 is emphatic on this. We are loved in the Beloved, elect in the Elect, chosen in the Chosen One, etc.

The distinction is to speak of time in terms of eternal moment (kairos) or historical sequence of events (chronos). What Christ does in history (chronos), He does "one time for all times" (ephapax), as the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world (Rev 13:8).

Anonymous said...

Do you mean you think God loves us eternally, but within time, He did not always?



Anonymous said...

What I'm saying is that God's love and favor do not need to be earned because they are free. GRATIA, free. If anything is earned, it is no longer of grace, but of obligation. Nobody puts God under obligation, and none of us should need to imagine He is obligated in order to trust Him.

God's love and favor are lavished upon all, whether or not we want them, whether or not we return them, even if we hate Him forever and ever. He still loves us, unconditionaly. Infinitely much. (The reason people are in hell is NOT that God fails to love them! It is that they don't love Him --or anyone else.)

Is it not an insult to His generosity to suppose His love and favor need somehow to be obtained?


P.S. God's "favor" does not imply that He would bless or prosper our sinful undertakings. To the contrary, it means He seeks to free us from them, and that He frustrates our evil plans and desires, too -- for the very love of us!