Christ as an Example Only Cannot Save Us   Leave a comment

“Be sure, moreover, that you do not make Christ into a Moses, as if Christ did nothing more than teach and provide examples as the other saints do, as if the gospel were simply a textbook of teachings or laws. Therefore you should grasp Christ, his words, works, and sufferings, in a twofold manner. First, as an example that is present to you, which you should follow and imitate. As Peter says in I Peter 4, ‘Christ suffered for us, thereby leaving us an example.’ Thus when you see how he prays , fasts, helps people, and shows them love, so also you should do, both for yourself and your neighbor. However this is the smallest part of the gospel, on the basis of which it cannot yet even be called gospel. For on this level Christ is of no more help to you than some other saint.. His life remains His own and does not as yet contribute anything to you. In short this mode (of understanding Christ simply as an example) does not make Christians but only hypocrites. You must grasp Christ at a much higher level. Even though this higher level has for a long time been the very best, the preaching of it has become rare. The chief article and foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and that is your own. This means that when you see or hear of Christ doing or suffering something, you do not doubt that Christ himself, with his deeds and suffering, belongs to you.” (Luthers Works, v.35)

Christ as example still leaves under the Law. Luther quips that if salvation were dependent on following Jesus’ example, we would all be doomed from the start, for who of us has been born of a virgin or walks on water? There is no salvation in Christ as our example, for nonoe of us can live the perfect and sinless life that He lived.” (Handling the Word of Truth by John Pless)


Posted September 6, 2013 by FiveSolas in Uncategorized

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