Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Minutes Daily with Luther - April 29

(Reprinted with permission from Five Minutes Daily with Luther: Daily Lessons from the Writings of Martin Luther, by John Theodore Mueller.)

And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. Galatians 5:3.

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The first injury borne is indeed very great, where Paul says that Christ is of no benefit to those who are circumcised. Then he adds this also, he says that those who are circumcised are under obligation to keep the whole Law. These words may be expounded in two ways, negatively and affirmatively. Negatively in this way: Paul testifies that every man who is circumcised performs no part of the Law; yes, that in the very work of circumcision he actually is not circumcised, and even by the fulfilling of the Law, he actually does not fulfill it but transgresses against it. This is Paul’s simple and plain meaning. In the sixth chapter he explains himself like this: “Those who are circumcised, do not even keep the Law themselves.” So also in the third chapter: “for as many are of the works of the Law, are under a curse.” He means to say: “Although you are circumcised, yet you are not righteous and free from the Law; and the more you work at satisfying the Law, and try to be set free by means of it, the more you entangle and snare yourselves in the burden of it, so that it has more power to accuse and condemn you. The affirmative exposition is this: He who is circumcised is also obligated to keep the entire Law. For anyone who accepts Moses in one point, must of necessity accept him in every point. And it does not help one whit to say that circumcision is ‘necessary’, and not the rest of Moses’ Laws. For by precisely the same reason that you are required to keep the Law of circumcision, you are also required to keep all of the Jewish ceremonies and Laws concerning foods, and places, and festivals; and Christ must be looked for as yet to come.
I know that sin and guilt combine
To reign o’er every thought of mine,
And turn from good to ill;
I know that when I try to be
Upright, and just, and true to Thee,
I am a sinner still!

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