Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lady Law

In the last post, Luther presents a dialogue between the believer and “Lady Law.” I have been thinking more about this interesting personification of the Law and the believer’s interaction with the Law. Luther had some more to say about our relationship with the “empress” and Christ’s relationship to this “cruel and powerful tyrant.”

So, any thoughts out there about what Luther has to say to “Lady Law”? Or even what Christ has to say to the accursed Lady? Is Luther to hard on this empress?

Also, as mentioned before, I love when Luther provides these dialogues. It reminds me of Satan before God in the book of Job.

If, then, you want to divide the Word of truth rightly (2 Tim. 2:15), you must distinguish the promise from the Law as far as possible, both in your attitude and in your whole life. It is not without purpose that Paul urged this argument so diligently; for he saw that in the church this evil would arise, namely, that the Word of God would be confused, which means that the promise would be mixed with the Law and in this way be completely lost. For when the promise is mixed up with the Law, it becomes Law pure and simple. For this reason you should accustom yourself to distinguish the Law from the promise even in time, so that when the Law comes and accuses your conscience, you say: “Lady Law, you are not coming on time; you are coming too late. Look back four hundred and thirty years; if these were rolled back, you could come. But you are coming too late and tardily; for you have been preceded for four hundred and thirty years by the promise, to which I agree and in which I gently rest. Therefore you have nothing to do with me; I do not hear you. Now I am living after Abraham the believer; or rather, I am living after the revelation of Christ, who has abrogated and abolished you.” Thus let Christ always be set forth to the heart as a kind of summary of all the arguments in support of faith and against the righteousness of the flesh, the Law, works, and merits.*

This was truly a remarkable duel, when the Law, a creature, came into conflict with the Creator, exceeding its every jurisdiction to vex the Son of God with the same tyranny with which it vexed us, the sons of wrath (Eph. 2:3). Because the Law has sinned so horribly and wickedly against its God, it is summoned to court and accused. Here Christ says: “Lady Law, you empress, you cruel and powerful tyrant over the whole human race, what did I commit that you accused, intimidated, and condemned Me in My innocence?” Here the Law, which once condemned and killed all men, has nothing with which to defend or cleanse itself. Therefore it is condemned and killed in turn, so that it loses its jurisdiction not only over Christ—whom it attacked and killed without any right anyway—but also over all who believe in Him. Here Christ says (Matt. 11:28): “Come to Me, all who labor under the yoke of the Law. I could have overcome the Law by My supreme authority, without any injury to Me; for I am the Lord of the Law, and therefore it has no jurisdiction over Me. But for the sake of you, who were under the Law, I assumed your flesh and subjected Myself to the Law. That is, beyond the call of duty I went down into the same imprisonment, tyranny, and slavery of the Law under which you were serving as captives. I permitted the Law to lord it over Me, its Lord, to terrify Me, to subject Me to sin, death, and the wrath of God—none of which it had any right to do. Therefore I have conquered the Law by a double claim:9 first, as the Son of God, the Lord of the Law; secondly, in your person, which is tantamount to your having conquered the Law yourselves.”**

*Luther, M. (1999, c1963). Vol. 26: Luther's works, vol. 26 : Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (Ga 3:18). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.


jWinters said...

Hey Jim, just found ya...through a couple of odd turns. Nice post. I'm adding your blog to my Bloglines....although my St. Louis friends will wonder why anyone would ever willingly refer to themselves as a "hoosier." jW

Jim Roemke said...

I proudly call myself a Hoosier! Its a mark of honor for anyone from Indiana. We Hoosiers think it pretty funny the people from Missour-ah would think we are hicks. Thanks for the comment.