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Daily Luther: A Christian Only Has One Foot in the Grave.

July 26th, 2012
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A Christian has already been thrust into death by the very fact that he became a Christian. Wherever he may be, he occupies himself with this hourly. He expects death any moment so long as he sojourns here, because devil, world, and his own flesh give him no rest. However, he enjoys the advantage of already being out of the grave with his right leg. Moreover, he has a mighty helper who holds out His hand to him, namely, His Lord Christ; He has left the grave entirely a long time ago, and now He takes the Christian by the hand and pulls him more than halfway out of the grave; only the left foot remains in it. For his sin is already remitted and expunged, God’s wrath and hell are extinguished, and he already lives fully in and with Christ with regard to his best part, which is the soul, as he partakes of eternal life. Therefore death can no longer hold him or harm him. Only the remnant, the old skin, flesh and blood, must still decay before it, too, can be renewed and follow the soul. As for the rest, we have already penetrated all the way into life, since Christ and my soul are no longer in death.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:26–27 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

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  1. Jonathan Trost
    July 26th, 2012 at 22:28 | #1

    When people ask what Lutherans believe about the afterlife for Christians, I think there’s no better answer than what’s in this “Daily Luther”. But note, it starts out and stays with “A Christian….”

    And yet, my impression is that many sitting in the pews of many American so-called “mainline churches” would find this message all “news”, i.e., foreign to them.

    Having attended many funerals in such churches over the years, there seems to be little reference to God’s grace, the Resurrection, and faith. Or, even if they are mentioned in the funeral liturgy and interment, they are so often drown out during remarks offered and shared by family friends which suggest that “good ole Uncle Charlie must be in heaven because he was such a good guy and so nice to people.”

    So, when they sing one of their favorites, “Faith of our Fathers, Living Still”, the question arises “Does it?” Because none of the leaders of the Reformation, whether from Wittenbeg, Geneva, or Canturbury, advocated “works righteousness” and the Pelegianism which seems to be a core tenet of many Protestants.

    How doctrinally far removed from their religious forebearers are many of their spiritual progeny today.

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