“By assisting Luther to a proper understanding of the doctrine of predestination, Staupitz provided him with a way of escape from the afflictions of his conscience relative to this doctrine. The new light Luther received was significant in a threefold sense.
1. Foreseen merits are not the foundation and cause of election….The love of God toward sinners is revealed in the sacrifice of his Son and in the Sacraments. Man is to put his hope and trust in the “present predestination” revealed in the wounds of Christ and in the Gospel and not to meditate upon the hidden decree of God.
2. Anguish and terror of conscience is not a sign of reprobation, but of election, for they are the means by which God draws His elect Christ…-the sufferings of Christ make it clear that the way to glory which God has ordained is the way of afflictions. Through patience in suffering the Christian is conformed to the image of Christ and shows himself a true follower of his Master. Also in this sense suffering and afflictions are a sign of election.
3. We know the heart and will of God toward us through Christ. The divine love for sinners is revealed in the fact that God gave His only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. “
(Uuraas Saarnivaara, “Luther Discovers the Gospel” Pg 31)
I Just love this book. I didn’t think I would. I always think I have read enough of the Luther studies and biographies out there. But every time I read another one I am dumbfounded how much I learn, not about Luther, but about Christ and Salvation! I love how this little excerpt shows the utter comforting message behind the Lutheran doctrine of Predestination. It shows the problem Luther suffered and the answer to it. Would that we all had a Staupitz.
Please, any Calvinists, former Calvinists or reformed of other stripes, comment on this! Coincidently I am listening to Phillip Carey’s “Issues etc.” discussion on this very issue. We need to figure out how to get these Lutheran books into the mainstream, so many people could be helped by this.