I am thankful to Kregel Publications for giving me the opportunity to have such a landmark commentary in my library among the other weighty books that line my shelves. I knew this was not going to be an easy read, for much of what Luther staked his hope on is still on the forefront of debates today, mainly, that justification is by faith alone. This topic weaves its way in and out of this masterfully written commentary, straightforward in some areas and lingering just behind the scenes in other. Luther makes his defense of justification most clear to me when he says, “Paul by these words, ‘Abraham believed’, maketh of faith in God the chiefest worship, the chiefest duty, the chiefest obedience, the chiefest sacrifice. Let him that is a rhetorician amplify this place, and he shall see that faith is an almighty thing, and that the owner thereof is infinite and inestimable; for it giveth glory unto God, which is the highest service that can be given unto Him”.
Luther expounds on this doctrine over and again many times throughout this text which is helpful for students of the word to remember such a demanding theme as this is worth repeating. Though I enjoy much of what Luther has presented I do not completely agree with everything he has to say, especially regarding the Holy Spirit. Luther speaks openly about the cessation of the gifts that were manifested to the early church, as many do today, which I think may be a dangerous position to lay claim to. However, Luther does go on to say some very powerful things regarding the work of the Spirit, “Although it appear not before the world, that we have been renewed in spirit, and have the Holy Ghost, yet our judgement, our speech, and our confession do declare sufficiently, that the Holy Ghost, with His gifts, is in us”.
I do not pretend to understand much of what Luther writes here regarding the deeper talk of doctrine and theology but I am able to pick up and apply a fair amount of theology from this commentary. For those seeking a more complete understanding of justification I would highly recommend taking up this weighty text and diving in with an attitude of serious study and prayer. My prayer is that as I dive into this text more and more I would begin to see God in all his glory as revealed in his Word. May you see this book, not as a Lutheran foundation of theology, but as a tool that can be used to glean a deeper understanding of the righteousness by which we are saved.
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