Wednesday, February 16, 2011
we are all beggars
"If Luther with his discovery of the saving truth of the justification of the sinner through faith alone, did nothing other than bring the holy gospel to light again, then his discovery has a significance as universal as the Gospel itself. He had expressed this his message one last time in the last lines which we have by his hand, written on a piece of paper on the 16th of February, and found after his death. This last note, written in Latin, speaks of the unfathomable depth of the Bible: "No one can understand Vergil unless he has been a shepherd or farmer for five years. No one can understand Cicero in his letters unless he has served in a significant position in government for 20 years. No one can apprehend the Holy Scriptures unless he has governed a congregation for a 100 years with the Prophets." The note concludes with the sentence: "We are beggars: This is true." The words "we are beggars" are written in German for emphasis.
It is as though Luther wanted to say what he had to say one last time; for all, for his contemporaries, those who came after him, for Christianity of all times. "We are beggars! This is true!" This is the fundamental melody which rang out throughout his entire life, doctrine and work." - Herman Sasse