No Death Can Ever Touch You

From “Postil for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity,” Church Postils IV (1544)

The body, which previously was rebellious and disobedient to the Spirit, will now become different, so that it is no longer a body of sin but of righteousness and new life… If we die spiritually to sin and physically to the world and ourselves, what do we have from that? Should there be nothing else for a Christian than being dead and buried?  No indeed!… We are certain through faith that we also will live, just as Christ rose from death and the grave and lives. We have also died with Christ or as Paul says, “we were planted with him in his death,” Rom 6:5. Through Christ’s death he has slain our sin and death. Therefore we will also share with him in the resurrection and the life.

There will no longer be any sin or death either in the soul or in the body, just as there is no more death in Christ. After Christ died once and awakened again, he will never die again, and there is no more reason why he must die. Christ has accomplished everything, blotted out our sin (for which he had to die), and swallowed down death; the life he now lives is eternal righteousness, life, and dominion. So also you, when you have once gone through both deaths – the spiritual, which you have already died to sin, and the gentle death of the body – then you have reached the point where no death can ever touch you or rule over you…

If you are a Christian, then you should know that your Lord Christ, already awakened from the dead, now cannot die, nor can death do anything against him. Therefore it can also do nothing against you (because you were baptized upon him). Yes, with these words defiance and scorn are offered to death; let it try whatever it can against Christ with all its power and fright! . . . It can certainly be angry, displeased, bitter, threatening, and frightening (against our poor weak flesh), but it will not rule over Christ. Rather it must tolerate Christ ruling over it, not only in his own person but also in us, because we have already died to sin once in him; that is, we have been redeemed from death’s sting, power, and dominion, 1 Cor. 15:54-55. Christ has already fully accomplished and completed the work by which he obtained dominion over death; he has presented and given this to us, so that in him we also rule over death… Then there will be nothing else, but only life, without any fright, dear, or dominion of death.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German priest and theologian, a seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation. His teaching about justification by faith, revealed in his study of the Pauline Epistles, became the core of Protestant teaching about salvation, and inspired a wide-reaching series of reform in Christian ministry, worship, and spiritual practice. His Church Postils were model expositional sermons, prepared on the assigned Sunday Mass texts, which he prepared to train preachers in interpreting the Scriptures. Martin Luther is commemorated on February 18 on the calendars of several Lutheran and Anglican Churches.  This translation of the text is from Benjamin Mayes and James Langebartels, eds, Luther’s Works, Volume 78: Church Postil IV (St. Louis: Concordia, 2015).


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