Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
Lesson 8 Notes
Vs. 2 – Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
- Galatians knew that they never received the Holy Spirit by the works of the law, but by the preaching of the Gospel.
- Luther: Paul is referring to the entire Law – not as critics say, “only about the Ceremonial Law”
- Either: One must be true, the other false
- Paul: When you were under the Law & doing its works, you never received the Holy Spirit. But as soon as you heard the Gospel (and before you could do any works), you did receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:44)
Conclusion: Even zealous attempt to live according to the Law is useless for justification – a laboring & wearing oneself out in vain.
Vs. 6 – Thus Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
- This is the definition of Christian righteousness (AE 26: 233-234)
- at it, sophists laugh (suppose that “righteousness” is a quality infused into the soul)
- They are unable to strip off the thoughts of reason
Vs. 7 – So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
- Luther: is a general statement & the practical argument of Paul against the Jews, that those who believe, not those who are descended from his flesh & blood, are the sons of Abraham (cf. Rom. 4 & Rom. 9)
Vs. 11 – Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the Law; for the righteous shall live by faith.
- It is as if Paul is saying, “What need is there of a long debate?”
- if by faith, then not by Law
- sophists carp, “. . . is by a faith that is active, working, or “formed by love”
Vs. 12 – But the Law does not rest on faith.
- Christianity is built on substitution–not morals.
- . . . so we must take refuge in Christ, Who was put under the Law to redeem those who are under the Law (Gal. 4:4)
- Paul not here speaking of those justified by faith, “believing doers” of the Law; rather, he is speaking of those who want to be justified solely through the Law. (AE 26: 274-275)