A Jagged Contention: A Gracious Lord

“What is it to become a lord?” It means that he has redeemed and released me from sin, from the devil, from death, and from all misfortune. Before this I had no lord or king, but was captive under the power of the devil. I was condemned to death and entangled in sin and blindness.

For when we were created by God the Father and had received from him all kinds of good things, the devil came and led us into disobedience, sin, death, and all misfortune. As a result we lay under God’s wrath and displeasure, sentenced to eternal damnation, as we had merited it and deserved it. There was no counsel, no help, no comfort for us until this only Son of God, in his unfathomable goodness, had mercy on us because of our misery and distress and came from heaven to help us. Those tyrants and jailers have now been routed, and their place has been taken by Jesus Christ, the Lord of life, righteousness, and every good and blessing. He has snatched us, poor lost creatures, from the jaws of hell, won us, made us free, and restored us to the Father’s favor and grace. As his own possession he has taken us under his protection and shelter, in order that, he may rule us by his righteousness, wisdom, and power, life and blessedness.

– Martin Luther, The Large Catechism, Second Part: The Creed, paragraphs 27-30. Pg 434 (Kolb/Wengert)


Question:

How does Luther’s definition of Christ’s lordship differ from the lords and rulers of this world? What is the danger of removing the reign of Christ from the realm of gospel and putting it into the realm of the law?