Cross Niagara v. Cross & Resurrection

“Jesus invites each of us to climb on his shoulders so he can carry us from sinfulness to God’s eternal grace. It is by faith that each of us chooses whether to climb on Jesus’ shoulders and let him take us there,” writes an ELCA pastor in The Lutheran (March 2010, p.3).

This article is part of The Book of Faith series on how to use the Bible. The author says that “Martin Luther suggested that Bible verses pulling in opposite directions create a tension that enables readers to better understand the message of grace.”

The message of grace: Life is like a tightrope over Niagara Falls. While we can’t get from sin to grace ourselves, we can choose to climb on Jesus’ shoulders and let him carry us.

Is this really our dilemma and the solution? Is this how Luther resolves the tension? Is this the right way to read Scripture?

No. The cross shows us that we cannot choose rightly or climb on Jesus’ shoulders.

Our dilemma as Luther said: I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or effort climb on Jesus’ shoulders or choose him (Small Catechism, Third Article).

The real gospel: God snatches us.

As Luther writes: “Thus we see what a great and excellent thing Baptism is, which snatches us from the jaws of the devil….” (Large Catechism, Fourth Part, Infant Baptism, 83, p. 446, Tappert edition).

Thank God my salvation does not depend on  choosing Jesus or climbing on his shoulders. Read here.