A Fragment of Sublime Simplicity from Luther

One has sinned, Another has made satisfaction. The sinner does not make satisfaction; the Satisfier does not sin. This is an astounding doctrine.

Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 40-66 in Luther’s Works, vol. 17 (St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1972), 99.

There is much to be said both for and against Luther (1483-1546), but he speaks to us of Jesus and he treasures the only gospel.

We have sinned against an infinite God. Infinite in power. Eternal in wisdom. A burning fire of holiness; if the universe was sacrificed to appease the wrath of God (Isa. 40:14-18), it would be as nothing. The eternal duration of hell is merely the just approximation of our infinite debt. Eternal punishment in the scales of justice is merely just. It is the least possible and the only possible punishment.

And the Son infinite in power, holiness, and love comes and satisfies God as man for sinners. He stoops down and places himself under the law, he lives as man beneath the yoke of suffering without sin; he dies upon the cross without sin. He draws into time infinite satisfaction for sinners.

We have sinned, Another has made satisfaction. We do not make satisfaction; the Satisfier does not sin. This is the gospel. It is astounding.

Shane Walker is preaching pastor at First Baptist Church in Watertown, Wisconsin. This post appeared on the blog of Andover Baptist Church in Linthicum, Maryland.

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