Getting Over Yourself? Ask Martin Luther

“We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor. Yet he always remains in God & in His love.” Luther Works, vol. 31, p. 371.

500 years ago Martin Luther was born again by the Spirit and the Word of the Gospel; he was set free from his self-loathing and trying to establish a righteousness of his own (Romans 10:3). What he taught so often after October 1517 was how to get outside of yourself; namely, beyond yourself and caught up into God, then beneath yourself or by downward mobility towards your neighbors.

My Congolese friends in Kinshasa teach me by faith to get beyond myself and caught up into God, and underneath my neighbor in love. Here is another example of getting over or outside yourself as a Christian:

Luther’s Larger Commentary on Galatians,

“And this is the reason why our theology is certain: it snatches us away from ourselves and places us outside ourselves, so that we do not depend on our own strength, conscience, experience, person, or works but depend on that which is outside ourselves, that is, on the promise and truth of God, which cannot deceive.”

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