Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
Introduction & Preface
1. Verse 21a not as though I were not alive now. I am alive (and that by Christ’s death & crucifixion, by which I [also] die).
A. (Luther: Paul speaking clearly, precisely here)
B. “That is, since I am liberated from the Law, sin, and death by grace & by faith, I am truly alive.
C. [Christ’s] crucifixion & death by which I am crucified/die to the Law, sin, death, is to me
D. resurrection & life. I live by this death & crucifixion – that is, by this grace or liberty although Law still remains, rules in this world, it is crucified/dies – but only to believers in Christ
E. Yet not I.= not in my own person (or substance)
a. if I pay attention to, speak of, the person becomes a “doer of works”
b. here (rather) Christ & my conscience must become one body, so that nothing remains in my sight but Christ crucified & risen
c. If Christ is “put inside” and I look only to myself, then I am done for
F. Paul: . . . not we but Christ took the initiative (“loved me and gave Himself for me”)=
2. For if justification were through the Law, then Christ died to no purpose.
- [again I warn] Paul is not here speaking about the Ceremonial Law, as the sophists imagine. He is speaking of the entire Law
- Ask, “Is it true or not that Christ died?” Then ask, “Did He die to no purpose?” “nullifying the grace of God” a very great and a very common sin
- We assert with Paul: Either Christ died to no purpose or the Law does not justify. But
- Christ did not die to no purpose; therefore the Law does not justify. (AE 26: 183)
3. Verse 21b To seek to be justified by the works of the law is to reject the grace of God.
Since Christ’s suffering death is true, he suffered for us. Righteousness by any other means than Christ alone is horrible, a blasphemy; yet this is the view that commonly reigns.
The law cannot justify us; if it could, Christ would be foolish.