Dutiful Children of Loving God Term Paper

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Luther's concept of the "liberated Christian" allows for both an almost existential responsibility and an odd passivity on the other hand. Humans are responsible for creating faith within themselves, but having once accomplished the achievement of faith, they can simply allow themselves to exist in the cocoon of divine love. Christ has done the work for others through his life and death. (Countering this is the idea of Luther's that all Christians serve as a communal priesthood, although it is not entirely clear to what extent he means this to be literal and to what extent he may be allowing for the metaphorical.) This tension between the active and the passive (or perhaps "accepting" might be a better translation of Luther's ideas than "passive") brings us back to the seeming contradiction posed in Luther's opening statements. It allows us to see another level of complexity in Luther's understanding of the ways in which a person's relationship with God contains both passive elements (the refusal to rely on actions as a way of striving toward God) and active ones (seeking and attaining grace).

All human action is corrupt, Luther writes: "faith cannot at all exist in connection with works, that is to say, if you at the same time claim to be justified by works, whatever their character; for that would be to halt between two sides, to worship Baal and to kiss the hand." And yet -- to underscore again what seems to be a true source of tension underneath the seeming contradiction in Luther's opening statements -- faith might well be seen as a form of human action. but, of course, this was no…

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