Luther on taking refuge in grace alone

‘Before the judgment seat of the world I am content to be dealt with according to the law; there I will answer and do what I ought. But before thee I would appeal to no law, but rather flee to the Cross and plead for grace and accept it as I am able. For the Scriptures teach me that God established two seats for men, a judgment seat for those who are still secure and proud and will neither acknowledge nor confess their sin, and a mercy seat for those whose conscience is poor and needy, who feel and confess their sin, dread his judgment, and yearn for his grace. And this mercy seat is Christ himself, as St. Paul says in Rom. 3 [:25], whom God has established for us, that we might have refuge there, since by ourselves we cannot stand before God. There shall I take my refuge when I have done or still do less than is meet and done much more of sin according to the law, both before and after my sanctification and justification. There my heart and conscience, regardless of how pure and good they are or can be in the sight of men, shall be as nothing, and they shall be covered over as it were with a vault, yea, with a fair heaven, which will mightily protect and defend them, the name of which is grace and the forgiveness of sins. Thereunder shall my heart and conscience creep and be safe’. – Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 51: Sermons I (Edited by H.C. Oswald, J.J. Pelikan, H.T. Lehmann; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 277.

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