Luther Quote of the Day

God’s judgment is tropological. This is its most frequent use in Scripture. This is the judgment by which God condemns and causes to condemn whatever we have of ourselves, the whole old man with his deeds [even our righteousnesses, Is. 64:6].7 This is properly humility, yes, humiliation. For it is not the one who regards himself as humble that is righteous, but the one who considers himself detestable and damnable in his own eyes [and condemns and compensates for his own sins],8 he is righteous. [And he justifies God even where He seems unjust. For “the foolishness of God is wiser than men,” (1 Cor. 1:25). “Better is the iniquity of a man than a woman doing a good turn” (Ecclus. 42:14). And the injustice of God is better than the justice of men.]9 “He who is dead is justified,” Rom. 6:7. And it is for this distinctive feature that Scripture uses the word judgment, to express the true nature of humility, which is the downgrading and contempt and the complete condemnation of oneself. This is the case especially where the word is coupled with righteousness, as, for example, in Is. 9:7: “To strengthen it with judgment and righteousness,” and Is. 11:4: “He shall judge the poor with judgment, and reprove with righteousness for the meek of the land.” Ps. 89:14 “Righteousness and judgment are the preparation of Thy throne.” Ps. 97:2: “Righteousness and judgment are the establishment of His throne.” Ps. 99:4: “Thou hast done judgment and righteousness in Jacob.” Ps. 33:5: “He loves mercy and judgment.” Ps. 37:28: “The Lord loves judgment.” Ps. 99:4: “The king’s honor loves judgment.” This is the judgment about which all the prophets cry that the Jews have detested it in ancient times, as they still do today. For “Moab is exceedingly proud” (Is. 16:6), and they are caught in their pride, for “the ungodly shall not rise in the judgment” (Ps. 1:5). “He will judge the world with equity. He will judge the people with righteousness. He comes to judge the earth” (Ps. 96:13; 98:9). Thus the apostle says, “If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged by the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:31). This is called the judgment of God, like the righteousness or strength or wisdom of God. It is that by which we are wise, strong, and humble, or by which we are judged.

But since this judgment comes about in heart, word, and deed, like any virtue, neither one will be enough without the other. Again, since faith is sometimes taken for the internal act, sometimes for the Gospel itself which teaches faith, or for the objects of faith, so it happens that also judgment may sometimes denote the Gospel and the Word of God, for it teaches us to exercise and perform such judgment. Ps. 19:9: “The judgments of the Lord are true, etc.” Ps. 10:5: “Thy judgments are removed from his sight.” Indeed, the word judgment can in every place be taken in the sense of Word of God [especially when it is used in the plural, as in Ps. 119:102: “I have not turned aside from Thy judgments”],10 for through the Word all judgments of God become whatever they become, since also the Son is the judgment and Word of the Father. Therefore these three are one (1 John 5:8):





Word of God


fullfillment in deed








These three are one.










the fleeting word in the mouth

in the heart

punishment in the body.



Psalm 70

Luther’s works, vol. 10: First Lectures I

Psalms 1-75

p 406-407


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