04 December 2010

A Little Luther for Populus Zion

So also, when the sky grows dark, you should say, the trees are budding, and when the sea and waves roar, the trees are blooming beautifully.  Why?  Because we are to be set free forever.  The signs which will occur in sun, moon, sea, and earth, the world will regard as threatening pikes and halberds.  But you, my disciples and Christians, are to think of them as beautiful blossoms.  You ought to rejoice, for the kingdom of God is coming to you because you believe and are baptized, because you suffer and because you petition and pray. -- House Postil I:43 (Homily from 1532)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If “all things work for good to them that love God”, then what good can come from Martin Luther’s, ”Von den Juden und ihren Lügen”, which he wrote toward the end of his life. The one thing that comes to mind is that it teaches us that Luther could be wrong – as he is in this homily. When our Lord said “your redemption (ἀπολύτρωσις) is drawing nigh,” he was not talking of the Kingdom (βασιλεία). Every one of His children is born into His Kingdom when it is baptized. (Ephesians 1:13) “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it (are redeemed, in some versions; in any event, that same (ἀπολύτρωσις)), to the praise of his glory.” While we are on earth in this Kingdom, we are simul justus et peccator. When we receive our inheritance, when we are redeemed, which is what our Lord was talking about, we will become solo justus.

Luther’s explanation of the Second Petition in the Lord’s Prayer also speaks of our praying that “the Kingdom may come unto us also.” The Kingdom does not come to us, we come into the Kingdom as St. Paul tells us in Colossians 1: 13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We should look again at that Greek verb “ἔρχομαι”, a form of which is used in our Lord’s Prayer. When used metaphorically it does not mean “come” in the literal sense. It would be better translated “prosper”, or “grow”, or “succeed”.

This is what our Lord said about the Kingdom in Luke 4: 43, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” We should not confuse that Kingdom with our ultimate redemption or with our sanctification.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart