The Theology of Martin Luther

By Paul Althaus; Robert C. Schultz | Go to book overview

17
JESUS CHRIST AS THE
RECONCILER AND REDEEMER

GOD's FEELING toward us sinners can be known in Christ. In him the heart of God is revealed. As the chapter on christology [Chapter 15] showed, Luther places decisive emphasis on this point. God makes his feeling known in the history of Jesus Christ. This history of Jesus Christ also has its own value as an event between God and humanity, and between God and the powers to whom his wrath has surrendered humanity. In accord with Christian tradition since the time of Paul, Luther understands the history of Jesus as the event of reconciliation and redemption. The wrath of God rests on sinful humanity. Through Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen, a new situation is created. Christ becomes our Lord in place of the powers of wrath. He is “a Lord of life, righteousness, and of all good and blessedness.” Through his work we become his own and are so ruled by him that he gives us a share in his life in “righteousness, innocence, and blessedness”— this is his lordship.1

All this is God's work in and through Christ. It is he who sends the Christ to do his work.2 But Christ acts in the name and in the power of God in such a way that he not only deals with humanity and the powers to which it has succumbed but also with God himself. He acts also in relationship to God; he “reconciles” God, or we may also say, he reconciles humanity with God.3 God in Christ deals also with himself, in himself, and in an inner trinitarian relationship.

1 Cf. the explanations of the Second Article in Luther's Small and Large
Catechisms. WA 3d, 295 f. and 185 ff.; BC, 345 and 413 ff.

2WA 17II, 293.

3WA 8, 519; LW 36, 177. WA 10III, 136. As these and other passages
show, Luther uses the expression interchangeably: God is reconciled; we are
reconciled with God the Father; we are reconciled with God.

-201-

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The Theology of Martin Luther
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • From the Preface to the German Edition v
  • Translator's Note ix
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Authority of Scripture and of the Creeds 3
  • 2: The Subject Matter of Theology 9
  • Part One - The Knowledge of God the Word of God and Faith 13
  • 3: The General and the Proper Knowledge of God 15
  • 4: God in Himself and God as He Reveals Himself 20
  • 5: The Theology of the Cross 25
  • 6: The Word of God and the Spirit of God 35
  • 7: Faith 43
  • 8: Reason 64
  • 9: The Holy Scripture 72
  • Part Two - God's Work 103
  • 10: God is God 105
  • 11: God's Will for Men 130
  • 12: Man as a Sinner 141
  • 13: Man Between God and Satan 161
  • 14: Man Under the Wrath of God 169
  • 15: God in Jesus Christ 179
  • 16: The Trinity 199
  • 17: Jesus Christ as the Reconciler and Redeemer 201
  • 18: Righteousness in Faith 224
  • 19: Law and Gospel 251
  • 20: The Freedom of the Gracious God 274
  • 21: The People of God 287
  • 22: The Church as the Community of Saints 294
  • 23: The Office of the Ministry 323
  • 24: The True Church and the Empirical Church 333
  • 25: The Sacrament 345
  • 26: Baptism 353
  • 27: The Lord's Supper 375
  • 28: Eschatology 404
  • Appendixes 427
  • Appendix One - “and Though I Had All Faith” 429
  • Appendix Two - “love and the Certainty of Salvation” 446
  • Indexes 459
  • Index of Names 460
  • Index of Subjects 461
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