BOUND, FREED, FREED TO BE BOUND: THE WITTENBERG UNDERSTANDING OF JUSTI CATION

by ROBERT KOLB in Vol. 3 No. 1 / Apr 2017



Abstract
This essay focuses on the Wittenberg teaching on justification directly following the presentation of the Augsburg Confession in 1530. Martin Luther’s understanding of justification was based on Christ’s atoning work in dying to eradicate sin and guilt and in rising to restore righteousness to his people. The benefits of Christ are given through the pronouncement of forgiveness by the effective word of absolution in all forms, and appropriated through trust in the promise of Christ. Despite scholarly attempts to drive a wedge between him and his Wittenberg colleague, Philip Melanchthon shared Luther’s view, though they expressed some elements differently. Both agreed that those who receive righteousness, a new identity as God’s child passively, will actively practice God-designed righteousness toward others.


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