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“It is the supreme art of the devil that he can make the law out of the gospel.  If I can hold on to the distinction between law and gospel, I can say to him any and every time that he should kiss my backside.  Even if I sinned I would say, ‘Should I deny the gospeI on this account?’ . . . Once I debate about what I have done and left undone, I am finished.  But if I reply on the basis of the gospel, ‘The forgiveness of sins covers it all,’ I have won.”

Martin Luther, quoted in Reinhard Slenczka, “Luther’s Care of Souls for Our Times,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 67 (2003): 42.


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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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