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Author Topic: Augustine's Comments On Romans 1: 16-17 And the Beginning of the Reformation  (Read 1235 times)

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Augustine's Comments On Romans 1: 16-17 And the Beginning of the Reformation

Martin Luther had for a period of time been fearful that he would be condemned because of his sins. He was tormented by the fear that his sins would cause him to be condemned by God. But when he read Augustine's commentary on Romans 1: 16-17 he was made free of that torment and worry, and Luther's insight from Augustine's commentary was what led to the Reformation, first in Germany and then in the Low Countries, England and in Scotland.


CHURCH FATHERS: On the Spirit and the Letter (St. Augustine)
Featuring the Church Fathers, Catholic Encyclopedia, Summa Theologica and more.

Augustine quotes Romans 1: 16-17: I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Then Augustine explains that "This is the righteousness of God, which was veiled in the Old Testament, and is revealed in the New; and it is called the righteousness of God, because by His bestowal of it He makes us righteous, just as we read that salvation is the Lord's, because He makes us safe. And this is the faith from which and to which it is revealed, — from the faith of them who preach it, to the faith of those who obey it. By this faith of Jesus Christ— that is, the faith which Christ has given to us — we believe it is from God that we now have, and shall have more and more, the ability of living righteously; wherefore we give Him thanks with that dutiful worship with which He only is to be worshipped."

Luther found in the writing of Augustine, that doctrine which brought Luther out of his fear of being condemned by God for his sins, and set off the Reformation in Germany. God's grace is the giving to us, who believe Christ's Gospel, that righteousness which is God's righteousness, and not ours. in order that we are justified from our sins.

Dispensationalism has focused the argument with defenders of Reformation Theology upon the postulate that God now has two peoples, Old Covenant Israel and the Church. Dispensationalists defend their doctrine that there is a strong separation between the multitude of Israel and Gentile Christians.

Although Romans 10: 12 and Galatians 3: 26-29 briefly say that there is a unity between saved Jews and saved Gentiles, Ephesians 2: 12-22 is explicit and elaborated on the spiritual unity between saved Jews and saved Gentiles. The dispensationalist focus upon the separation of Israel from the Church runs into the clear doctrine of unity between saved Jews and saved Gentiles of Ephesians 2.

Yet within that second chapter of Ephesians is a statement by Paul saying much the same thing as Augustine explained about Romans 1: 16-17, that we who believe Christ and his Gospel are justified from our sins by the righteousness of Christ and not by our own righteousness.

Ephesians 2: 8-10 says "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Reformation theology follows Paul in Romans 1: 16-17 and in Ephesians 2: 6-10 in teaching that the righteousness which justifies the believer from sin is the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Reformation theology also follows the New Testament in saying that salvation involves being Born again, as in John 3: 1-6, becoming transformed in Romans 12: 2, becoming a new creature or creation in II Corinthians 5: 17 and Galatians 6: 15, as well as having Christ in you in Colossians 1: 27.

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