Imagery In Luther's Theology

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To properly understand Luther’s theology it is helpful to consider the variety of imagery Luther uses to explain how he views God’s work upon the Christian. This is to say that for Luther, God through the Word, works within the Christian’s heart shaping and forming the individual into a new creature. For Luther, this is not just something that happens once, but is a continual process that “endures until death” Luther often speaks about the works of God or the works of God’s hands upon the faithful. To express the extent of this work and the object of God’s work, Luther uses various metaphors. Luther will often liken God to a potter or a carpenter, and as such like the faithful to God’s workmanship, clay, or lumber, in which God produces “the dear holy cross.” All of this, as Luther suggests, is a product of the Gospel, “Here He hews and works on us, planes and saws, that He may put to death the old man in us together with his learning, wisdom, and righteousness, and all his vices, thus making us perfect, His new creation.” This is to say that for Luther, faith…show more content…
Most importantly, the Gospel speaks to one’s heart and reveals the coming wrath of God upon the earth. Therefore, Luther warns us that, “when the word confronts you, beware and yield. Give ground, and obey in good time; for it must conquer whether you bow gracefully or ungracefully.” For Luther, this takes place most effectively in the oral proclamation, which he believed was its intended medium. As such, Luther references this as offensive weapons i.e. God’s sword, bow, arrows and spear. “Thus the “sword” is the power of judgment by which He separates the ungodly, the “bow” is the power of imposing penalties, and the “arrows” and spears are the torments and punishments themselves. Moreover, in speaking about the effective relation between Law and Gospel, Luther uses the imagery of
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