Luther on Faith and Love

Luther on Faith and Love: Christ and the Law in the 1535 Galatians Commentary

Sun-young Kim
Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Luther on Faith and Love
    Book Description:

    There has been a distinct tendency in modern scholarship to underestimate Luther’s teaching on love by overemphasizing his teaching on justification. Calling this tendency into question, Sun-young Kim advances the thesis that Luther’s teaching on faith and love operates as the overriding thematic pair in the dynamics of Christ and the law—structurally and conceptually undergirding the 1535 Galatians commentary. The research situates itself in the landscape of Luther scholarship via a special attention to Finnish Luther scholars and scholarship. Luther on Faith and Love argues that in the discussion of proper righteousness and holiness, Luther’s redefined love emerges in harmony with faith. His views on Christian freedom, the Christ-given law of love, the twofold way of fulfilling the law, and his christological premises demonstrate the logical rationale for reintroducing love. This love, designated as a fruit of faith, is incarnated in three major relations: love toward God, toward others, and toward self.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8976-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
    Sun-young Kim
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    This dissertation will undertake a long-overdue inquiry into the teaching on faith and love in Martin Luther (1483–1546), zeroing in on his commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1535). My thesis is that faith and love operate as the overriding thematic pair, structurally and conceptually undergirding the Galatians commentary, and that this can especially be seen in dynamic interaction with his outlook on the functions of Christ and the law.¹ To substantiate the thesis, this dissertation brings to the fore an interpretive framework that Luther himself provides, by which to understand his teaching on faith and love....

  6. 1 Research on Faith and Love in Luther
    (pp. 21-62)

    Although the literature on Luther’s teaching on faith and love is sparse in comparison with that on his teaching on justification by faith alone (and on other topics), some valuable research is available.¹ I will unearth secondary literature on this subject by classifying it in accordance with the assorted foci of research. In this section on previous research, special space will also be allotted to salient arguments of the modern Finnish Lutheran scholars, which are germane to our discussion on Luther’s teaching on faith and love. Whether they receive a sympathetic hearing or opprobrium from other Luther scholars, it is...

  7. 2 Faith and Love in the Dimension of Passive Righteousness and Holiness
    (pp. 63-116)

    As mentioned in chapter 1, this dissertation situates Luther’s teaching on faith and love in two dimensions—alien, passive, and perfect righteousness and holiness vis-à-vis proper, active, and progressing righteousness and holiness. Grasping the nexus of these two dimensions is decisive for delving into the dynamics of Luther’s discussion of faith and love. This chapter concentrates on Luther’s thoughts on faith, love, and their relationship in the dimension of alien, passive, and perfect righteousness and holiness. In this dimension, the salient point is that faith in Christ does everything for the justification of sinners to the utter exclusion of love....

  8. 3 Faith: Sole Means of Grasping Christ
    (pp. 117-148)

    With faith suitably comprehended as the only means of grasping the sole savior, Jesus Christ, for the justification of the unrighteous, let us now inquire into the specifics of Luther’s reconceptualization of this justifying faith in Christ. Luther’s reconceptualization of faith can be investigated in light of three primary traits: faith as knowing the truth of the heart about God, Christ, and self; faith as trusting God and Christ; and faith as being active in love. This chapter will then show how Luther’s reconceptualization of faith assigns a redefined function to the law in the dimension of alien, passive, and...

  9. 4 Faith and Love in the Dimension of Active Righteousness and Holiness
    (pp. 149-202)

    The reason faith excludes love in the matter of justification of sinners in the dimension of alien, passive, and perfect righteousness and holiness is that faith in Jesus Christ alone can make sinners righteous. In consequence, even the love that Luther deems biblical and genuine neither contributes to nor collaborates with faith in the matter of justification. That being so, it is not surprising that Luther adamantly renounces the scholastic concept of love, which he reckons as unbiblical and diametrically opposed to true faith.

    In the matter of a Christian’s daily living in the dimension of proper, active, and progressing...

  10. 5 Love: Means of Authenticating Faith
    (pp. 203-246)

    Luther’s reconfiguration designates faith as the only means of grasping Christ in the heart. It is characterized by accurate knowledge of God, Christ, and self, and by firm trust in God’s promise and Christ’s soteriological significance. Luther’s reconceptualized faith is also identified by the bearing of its fruit, that is, by being spontaneously and imperatively active in love. Love does not form faith as the scholastics maintain, but faith that is formed by Christ manifests itself in the outpouring of love. In Luther’s reconfiguration, faith is not idle, nor is it private, individualistic, or egocentric. Faith propels Christians to act...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 247-268)

    Paul Althaus has stated that an intensive study of Luther’s theology is rewarding on the strength of the originality of his theological methodology, which is firmly rooted in his conviction of the authority of Scripture. Althaus claims that all Luther’s theological thinking is nothing more than an attempt to interpret Scripture and almost every single step in Luther’s theology receives its basis and direction from Scripture.¹ Luther’s reconceptualization of faith and love supports this claim in that it is consequent upon his devoted exegesis of Paul’s teaching on faith and love.

    Calling into question any inclination to play down Luther’s...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 269-296)
  13. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 297-304)
  14. Index of Names
    (pp. 305-308)
  15. Index of Biblical References
    (pp. 309-311)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 312-312)