The Relationship of Jewish and Gentile Believers to the Law Between A.D. 30 and 70 in the Scripture

148 Human Effort vs. Human Faith The View of the Reformer For Luther the contrast between law and gospel was a clear one. In commenting on Gal 2: 16 he defines "the work of the law" as "that which is contrary to grace. " 5 The "works of the law" were simply a particular form of "good works" in general and were completely insufficient for salvation. 6 The fundamental distinction for Luther was between law which demanded doing, and faith which only involved the reception of something from God. The purpose of the law was to bring the individual to the point of despair in his personal attempts to merit God ' s favor thus forcing him to faith in Christ. 7 In all of this the central concern was the justification of the individual along the "ordo salutis axis " 8 as opposed to the "historia salutis axis" involving the incorporation of Gentiles into the people of God . A more recent defense of this basic position has come from Douglas Moo 9 who affirms in the context of Galatians 3 that Paul criticizes "works of the law" not so much because they are "of the law" but because they are "works. " 10 No one can merit salvation 5 Martin Luther , A Commentary on Saint Paul 's Epistle to the Galatians (Philadelphia: almon S. Miles, 1840), 229. 6 lbid ., 241. 7 1n commenting upon Galatian 3:24 he write , "But the true u e of the law i to t a h me that I am brought to the knowledge of my sin, and humbled , that o I ma com unt hri t, and may be justified by faith," Ibid ., 422 . 8 ' Ordo salutis i u ed here to refer to the ubjective application of r d mpti n in th li hi tory of the individual inn r in contra t to hi toria aluti , th bj ti t f d in al ation hi tory t accompli h humanity' redemption." Th h lpful t rm nd d finiti n ar fr m A. B aneday, 'The ur f the Law and the r : Work of th L nd ith in alat1an 3:1-14," Ph .D. Di rtati n (Trinit ang Ii al Di init h I, 1 1) , 1 , n. . 9 D u la J M o, '" w,' 'Work o th L ' nd L g Ii min P ul ,'' e mun ter Jheolog1 al Journal 45 (1 ) · 7 1 10 1 id ., 7 .