Martin Luther On Romans 7

It has already been stated in previous blog postings on PM Notes that Augustine and Aquinas held to an interpretation of Romans 7 from the perspective of it being Paul describing himself as a Christian.  As we will see in this post, the same is true for Martin Luther.  Each of the theologians can do so because they see the ongoing effects of concupiscence in the life of a baptized and regenerated person.  While Luther definitely takes a firm stand in identifying concupiscence as sin itself, the other two theologians do not deny Romans 7 as being the Christian experience due to their understanding of the ongoing effects of concupiscence.
            Luther comments on Romans 7 saying,
“Then he [Paul] shows how spirit and flesh struggle with one another in a man.  He uses himself as an example, in order that we may learn how properly to understand the work of slaying sin within us.  He calls both the spirit and the flesh ‘laws’; for just as it is in the nature of the divine law to drive men and make demands of them, so the flesh drives men and makes demands.  It rages against the spirit, and will have it own way.  The spirit, in turn drives men to make demands.  It rages against the spirit, and will have its own way.  The spirit, in turn, drives men and makes demands contrary to the flesh, and will have its own way.  This tension lasts in us as long as we live; though in one person it is greater, in another less, according as the spirit or the flesh, and he fights with himself until he becomes wholly spiritual.”[1][2]

[1] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works (Fortress Press, 1960), 376-377.
[2] Take special note that Luther and John Wesley see Paul speaking about himself as an example. The difference is that Luther holds to an interpretation of Paul actually speaking about himself whereas Wesley simply states that Paul goes into character to speak about the struggle of sin as a nonbeliever. 


Anonymous said…
If you have told one lie, that makes you a liar. If you have stolen one thing, that makes you a thief. JESUS said; if you look at a person with lust, you commit adultery in your heart! Ever used GOD's name in vain; then your a blasphemer and can't enter GOD's kingdom! Revelation 21v8 says; "All liars will have their part in the lake of fire!" The bible says; No thief or adulterer will inherit GOD's kingdom! You broke GOD's laws; but JESUS paid your fine! Repent, turn, and trust the Savior.