Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
Introduction & Preface
Question: “If the Law does not justify, why, then, was it given?” [or] “Why does God prod & burden us with the Law if it does not give life?”
By admitting the law does not justify, we are not voiding it
Law does have its proper function, but it is not to justify sinners (1 Tim. 1:8)
Law has its usefulness: it brings men to a knowledge of themselves, discloses sin, increases it.
Vs. 22 – But Scripture consigned all things to sin.
In clearest of words, Paul says that the Law does not make alive. Where does Scripture consign all things to sin?
Paul: Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22:18
Paul: the Law does not make alive, was not given for that purpose
Luther: If the Law neither justifies nor makes alive, then works do not justify, either (is the inference Paul wants us to draw) (AE 26: 333)
Conclusion (Luther): Therefore the proposition “Faith alone justifies,” which our opponents find altogether intolerable, is true.
Vs. 24 – So that the law was our custodian until Christ came.
Luther: analogy of “custodian” or “schoolmaster” very useful, outstanding; must be considered carefully
Luther: “The Law is a schoolmaster – not until some other lawgiver comes who demands good works, but until Christ comes, the Justifier & the Savior, so that we may be justified through faith in Him, not through works.”
Vs. 28a – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female.
Luther: . . . and many other divinely ordained offices could be added: neither magistrate nor subject, neither professor nor listener, neither teacher nor pupil, neither lady nor servant, etc. Paul’s words “there is neither Jew” vigorously abolishes the Law. (AE 26: 354)