Some Good Quotes

From one of the books I’m currently (re)reading:  Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer.  This book is a great exploration of what faith means and how it works through the Christian life.  This was for one of my seminary courses, but if the highlighting is any indicator, I didn’t quite finish it.  Looking forward to rectifying that soon!

Bayer begins by contrasting faith as a gift from God, as opposed to a faith based on our own works and merits.  If our own works earn us faith, we are never really free.  We are constantly under the power of our works – worried about whether there are enough of them to truly save us.  However, when we accept that faith is a free gift from God that has nothing to do with our efforts, we become free:
“When I am nailed down to what I have done and do, and let myself be nailed down by others, I am then profoundly not free.  But when I am freed from this lack of freedom, then distance and sense of proportion come with the freedom I am granted, and thus comes the room that is needed for action.” (p.21)
Bayer understands Luther’s placement of good works firmly and forever on the other side of justification by faith.  It isn’t that works aren’t present or don’t matter, but rather that they don’t matter to the gift of faith from God the Holy Spirit – they emanate from that gift.  Bayer quotes Luther:
“none of us can talk adequately or profitably about God’s glory and majesty unless we see god also in the lowliness and humiliation of the cross.”  Christian theology does not begin in the heights as other religions do; it begins in the depths, in the womb of Mary and the death of Jesus on the cross. (p.23)
Not necessarily an easy read, but definitely a valuable one.  Don’t let the small page count fool you – you’re going to be taking some time wading through some of his sentences and paragraphs!
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