Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shine like the stars adorning heaven

When asked whether godly persons already justified should expect some merit on account of their good works that follow justification, Luther observed that the already justified remain sinners and need to pray for forgiveness for their sins in this life.
    "Surely God gives works to individuals, but differently, as one star differs from another. Yet all of these are under the forgiveness of sins. As heaven (that is, justification) is under grace, so much the more are the stars. As the stars don't make heaven but only adorn it, so works don't merit heaven but only adorn justifying faith. This is the only reasoning that solves everything: "I believe in Jesus Christ, who suffered under Pilate for us." Everything is his, nothing is ours. Afterward, when by grace we are sons of God, we differ in our gifts, just as there are different stars in heaven." "Table Talk," no. 4331, January 1539, Luther's Works, v. 54, p. 328-329, (Fortress Press, 1967).

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