Works cannot do justice to the Law.

“Without grace all men are of this kind, but especially the self-righteous. Hence Scripture says and concludes: ‘All men are liars’ (Ps 116:11); and again (Ps 39:5) ‘Every man at his best state is altogether vanity’; and (Ps 14:3) ‘There is none that does good, no, not one.’ But despair follows when a man becomes aware of the reason why he is keeping the Law and recognizes that to love God’s Law is impossible for him, since he finds nothing good in himself but only hatred of the good and lust for the bad.

Then he recognizes that works cannot do justice to the Law. Therefore he despairs of works and disregards them. He ought to have love, but he does not find any and of and by himself can have none. The result must be a poor, miserable, humbled spirit, a man oppressed and frightened through the Law by his conscience, which demands and requires of him what he has not a penny to pay. Yet the Law alone is of benefit to such presumptuous people, for it was given to work this knowledge and humiliation. This is its [the Law’s] proper work…” Martin Luther 

Amos 2:4 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have despised the law of the Lord, And have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, Lies which their fathers followed.

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