Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Absolute God vs. The God Who Promises

From Luther's comments on Psalm 51:1 ("Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions").

"David mentions God and makes no reference to Christ. Here at the very beginning you should be reminded of something so that you do not think that David is talking about God like a Mohammedan or like some other Gentile. David is talking with the God of his fathers, with the God who promised. The people of Israel did not have a God who was viewed 'absolutely,' to use the expression, the way the inexperienced monks rise into heaven with their speculations and think about God as He is in Himself. From this absolute God everyone should flee who does not want to perish, because human nature and the absolute God - for the sake of teaching we use this familiar term - are the bitterest of enemies. Human weakness cannot help being crushed by such majesty, as Scripture reminds us over and over. Let no one, therefore, interpret David as speaking with the absolute God. He is speaking with God as He is dressed and clothed in His Word and promises, so that from the name 'God' we cannot exclude Christ, whom God promised to Adam and the other patriarchs. We must take hold of this God, not naked but clothed and revealed in His Word; otherwise certain despair will crush us."

Cited in Luther's Works, 55 vols., Jaroslav Pelikan, ed. (St. Louis: Concordia, 1955) 12:312.

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