An Amazing Thing

My iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
PSALM 38:4
An Amazing Thing
That is, [my iniquities are] heavier than I can bear, as is written in Psalm 65:3: "Lord God, the deed of our sin has overwhelmed us; be gracious toward our iniquity." Thus our sin treads us underfoot until grace comes, treads sin underfoot, and raises our head above it so that we become master and rule over sin, not sin over us. Those, however, who lie in sin, who are either dead or too holy, do not sense these things. Therefore it is an amazing thing: He who has no sin feels and has it, and he who has sin does not feel it and has none. For it would be impossible for him to complain about and against sin if he did not live in righteousness and grace. One devil does not drive out the other (Luke 11:18); sin does not accuse its kind; and one wolf does not cry out against the other. And yet it is impossible for him who cries out against sin to be without it, for he dare not speak to God in fiction. It must be true that he has sin, as he says, and yet also true that he is without sin. Just as Christ was at the same time truly alive and dead, so also those who are real Christians must be full of sin and without sin at the same time.

From Seven Penitential Psalms, on Psalm 38 (Luther's Works 14:157-58)
May 28
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