Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
Lesson 7 Notes
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).
- (Luther: Paul speaking clearly, precisely here)
- “That is, since I am liberated from the Law, sin, and death by grace & by faith, I am truly alive."
- [Christ’s] crucifixion & death by which I am crucified/die to the Law, sin, death, is to me
- 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
- Yet not I.= not in my own person (or substance)
- if I pay attention to, speak of, the person becomes a “doer of works”
- here (rather) Christ & my conscience must become one body, so that nothing remains in my sight but Christ crucified & risen
- If Christ is “put inside” and I look only to myself, then I am done for
- 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.