Luther on certainty (salvation outside of us)

“Where, then, is wisdom? Where is righteousness? Where is virtue? Not in us, but in Christ. It is outside of us, in God” (LW 51:28).

“God does not want to redeem us through our own, but through external righteousness and wisdom. . . Therefore, we must be taught a righteousness that comes completely from the outside and is foreign” (LW 25:136).

“Therefore Paul would like to draw us away completely from looking at the law, sin, and death, and other evil things, and to transfer us to Christ, in order that there we might see this very joyous duel: the law battling against the law, in order to become liberty to me; sin battling against sin, in order to become righteousness to me; death battling against death, in order that I might have life.  For Christ is my devil against the devil, that I might be a son of God; he destroys hell, that I might have the kingdom of heaven” (LW 26:24).

“If you want to find the Christian church, you will never find it where you do not see Christians resting upon Christ’s shoulder. . . . For no one is a Christian unless he lies on Christ’s shoulder . . .  and is carried by him, just as a strayed, lost sheep is carried by its shepherd.  A real Christian believes that he is carried on Christ’s shoulders, that . . . all his sins lie on Christ’s shoulders. . . . Christ must carry us, must make payment and satisfaction for our sins, or we are lost.  He had to suffer on the cross for us, and he must still constantly carry us and bear with us.  We cannot and dare not carry him; he must carry us.  In no way can we help him pay off our debt. . . . Some, however, do not want to be born by Christ; instead they bear Christ. . . . In their thinking they believe they are to live in this or that manner, do enough to pay for their sins and appease God’s anger.  But that sort of carrying is contradictory.  If . . . you try to bear Christ, that will be a very heavy load. . . . Obviously you would be crushed by the load. . . . Christ speaks to a poor sinner in this manner: ‘You are conceived and born in sin, you have angered God by many sins and are condemned to death; but you are not to suffer anguish on account of this, for your sins are forgiven you; simply like on my shoulder; I want to carry you before God. . . .’ Unfortunately most people in the world do not only not accept this preaching but despise and disdain it. . . . But let us receive this preaching, thank God for it, and be confident that Christ will intercede for and give answer for us, so that our sins will not accuse and condemn us before God” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. Klug III.224-8).

“Our comfort is that we must not suppose Christ to be an idle king, raised again and glorified for his own sake alone. But we should learn he is the fountain of justice and the head of truth, life, and all good things — and the kind of fountain that causes life to flow in those who are marked by death, and righteousness in those who are oppressed by sin”  (LW 12:147).

“Then do we do nothing and work nothing in order to obtain this righteousness? I reply: Nothing at all. For this righteousness means to do nothing, to hear nothing, and to know nothing about the Law or about works but to know and believe only this: that Christ has gone to the Father and is now invisible; that He sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father, not as a Judge but as one who have been made for us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption from God; in short, that He is our high Priest, interceding for us and reigning over us and in us through grace”  (LW 26:8).

“All we aim for is that the glory of God be preserved and that the righteousness of faith remain pure and sound.  Once this has been established, namely that God alone justifies us solely by His grace through Christ, we are willing not only to bear the pope aloft on our hands but also to kiss his feet” (LW 26:99).

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