Luther on Christ’s Taking-On Sin

Martin Luther replies to the claims of the ‘sophists’ who say “But it is highly absurd and insulting to call the Son of God a sinner and a curse [in reference to Gal. 3:13]!” Luther says,

“If you want to deny that He is a sinner and a curse, then deny also that He suffered, was crucified, and died.  For it is no less absurd to say, as our Creed confesses and prays, that the Son of God was crucified and underwent the torments of sin and death than it is to say that He is a sinner or a curse.  But if it is not absurd to confess and believe that Christ was crucified among thieves, then it is not absurd to say as well that He was a curse and a sinner of sinners.  Surely these words of Paul are not without purpose: ‘Christ became a curse for us’ and ‘For our sake God made Christ to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Cor. 5:21) … He is, of course ,innocent, because He is the Lamb of God without spot or blemish.  But because He bears the sins of the world. His innocence is pressed down with the sins and the guilt of the entire world.  Whatever sins I, you, and all of us have committed or may commit in the future, they are as much Christ’s own as if He Himself had committed them” (Martin Luther, 1535 Lectures on Galatians 1-4, p. 278). 

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