Grasping God’s Word: Week 6
Martin Luther: “This is God’s Word, even the Gospel”
This is from Luther’s commentary on 2 Peter 1:19-21.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. ~ 2 Peter 1:19-21
Here Peter grasps right hold of his theme and would at least this much: all that I preach is to subserve the end, that your conscience may be assured, and your heart stand firm in this teaching, and not let itself be torn from its faith. Thus both I and you may be certain we have God’s word. For it is an important matter as respects the Gospel that we should receive and hold it in its integrity and purity, without addition and without false doctrine. Therefore Peter begins henceforth to write against human doctrines. …
This now is what Peter says: We have such a word of prophecy as is sure in itself; see to it only that it be sure to you; “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.” As though he should say: It will be necessary for you to hold firmly to it; for it was given even to the end to serve the Gospel; as though one were imprisoned in a house, in the midst of the night, when it was pitch dark; and it was necessary that one should kindle a light, till the day came when he could see. Eminently such is the Gospel in the midst of the night and the darkness. For all human reason is mere error and blindness, while the world is even nothing else but a kingdom of darkness. In this darkness has God now kindled a light, even the Gospel, whereby we may see and walk, while we are on the earth, till the morning dawns and the day breaks.
Thus this text also strongly opposes all human doctrine; for since the word of God is the light in a dark and gloomy place, the conclusion follows that all besides it is darkness. For if there were another light besides the Word, Peter would not have spoken as he did. Therefore look not to how gifted with reason they are who teach any other doctrine, however grandly they set it forth; if you cannot trace God’s word in it, then doubt not that it is mere darkness. And let it not disturb you at all that they say they have the Holy Spirit. How can they have God’s Spirit if they do not have his Word? Wherefore they do nothing else but call darkness light and make the light darkness, as Isaiah says in 5:20.
This is God’s word, even the Gospel; that we are ransomed by Christ from death, sin, and hell: whoever hears that, has this light and has kindled this lamp in his heart, even that by which we may see the one that enlightens us, and teaches us whatever we need to know. But where this is not, there we rush on, and by principles and works of our own device would find out the way to heaven. Of this you can judge and see by your light, that it is darkness. Therefore since they have not the light, neither wish to receive it, they must remain in darkness and blindness. For that light teaches us all we ought to know and all that is necessary to salvation, a thing which the world by its wisdom and reason knows not. And this light we must still have and depend upon, even to the day of judgment. Then shall we have no more need of the Word, just as we put out the lamp when the day breaks.
~ From Commentary on Peter and Jude