Hate at the Bottom of Your Heart

Martin Luther, in the “Preface” to his Commentary on Romans, commenting on Romans 2:

For even though you keep the law outwardly, with works, for fear of punishment or love of reward, nevertheless, you do all this without willingness and pleasure, and without love for the law, rather with unwillingness, under compulsion, and you would rather do otherwise, if the law were not there. The conclusion is that at the bottom of your heart you hate the law.

Now, as I read this, I asked myself, “How does the law, then, judge me for my heart’s attitude if it appears to relate merely to my outward acts?”

The answer is that the law judges the heart by judging the things that flow intrinsically from it. It judges the heart by the hearts “tentacles,” as it is, the heart’s actions are its own overflow, as Jesus says.

But, you might ask, “How can God judge people according to the law of the heart when no one has the heart to obey Him?” He judges the actions of the heart, and not the heart for its own sake, but the heart for how it works, for this is its true expression.

Thus, sinful actions are sinful because they come from a sinful heart. They are in no way excused because they come from a sinful heart, nor are they sinful in spite of the sinful heart.

Without Christ, in other words, you and I have hatred for God at the bottom of our hearts. This is why “the law is spiritual,” Romans 7:14 says. It is meant to point us to our need for a New Covenant heart.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

2 Responses to Hate at the Bottom of Your Heart

  1. Pingback: New Series! « Your Cross on My Back

  2. Pingback: Archives: “Do Stuff” Still Isn’t the Gospel « Your Cross on My Back

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