The Theology of Martin Luther

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

28
ESCHATOLOGY

FOR FAITH, salvation is a present reality. Luther strongly emphasizes this fact. “Where there is forgiveness of sins there are also life and salvation,” now, in this present moment Salvation is no longer only a future event. In this life, however, the Christian has it only in faith and not yet in experience, not in complete, unbroken, uninterrupted, constant, and uncontradictable experience. Faith is continually attacked by the temptations arising from the contradiction between the reality it sees and the salvation that is present but hidden from sight. “We do not wait for forgiveness and all graces as though we would not receive them until the life to come; rather, they are now present for us in faith, even though they are hidden and will be revealed only in the life to come.”1 Christians therefore wait for the final revelation. We have repeatedly discussed this eschatological dimension of various topics of Luther's theology, for example, in the doctrines of Christ's work and of righteousness through faith. To be a Christian is both to have and at the same time not to have, to be and at the same time not yet to be. We are in the process of becoming Christians. Therefore those things which faith has already received point it forward to the eschaton. This is true not only of the life of the individual Christian but equally of the situation of the church in the world and of the lordship of Christ in history. The church must yet endure the bitter suffering brought upon it by the pressure and resistance of the world and of Satan. Theology is and remains theology of the cross; therefore it necessarily becomes eschatology. Faith eagerly waits and hopes for the future when Christ's lordship will be revealed. Luther's theology is thoroughly eschatological in the strict sense of expecting the end of the world. His thoughts about the eschaton are not a conventional appendix but a section of his theology which is rooted in, indispensable to, and

1WA 171, 229.

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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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