January 4, 2022

Eric Metaxas, "Luther" on Conscience

 "My conscience is captive to the Word of God."

...Luther, in saying that he could not go against conscience, was simply saying that if his own understanding, his own knowledge, as guided by plain logic and clear arguments, showed him that Scripture said one thing and anyone else - even the church - said another, he had no choice but to go with what the Scriptures said. The Word of God trumped all else....
... Luther was trying to call the church back to its true roots, to a biblical idea of a merciful God who did not demand that we obey but who first loved us and first made us righteous before he expected us to live righteously. This was the good news of the Gospel that the church had so horribly obscured....
... [Luther] was not at all asserting the freedom of the individual to do as he pleased. He was asserting the freedom of the individual to do as God pleased - if and when the church or the state attempted to abrogate that freedom.

... Luther's stand at Worms ... gave us genuine liberty in a way that would lead us to a new freer and deeper understanding of what God wanted.  Just as Jesus had called upon the Pharisees to stop their outward obedience to God and go far deeper, to inward obedience, so Luther called upon every Christian to cease the petty obedience to church that was nothing when compared to the freedom and joy of actually obeying God.