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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chytraeus on justification | Faith Alone Justifies

Chytraeus on justification | Faith Alone Justifies:


Chytraeus on justification

I would like to offer an improved translation of a widely circulated quote by David Chytraeus, who wrote a wonderful work of Lutheran Catechesis in the 16thCentury.  His statements on the doctrine of justification have been particularly helpful to me and thoroughly consistent with the orthodox teaching of the 1500’s.
First, a disclaimer.  I have only the utmost respect for Dr. Richard Dinda, the original translator, and for Repristination Press (my publishing company of choice).  I do not wish in any way for my correction to be taken as implying anything negative about anyone.  I have no doubt that someday people will find inaccuracies in my translations as well.  The truth is what matters.  I still highly recommend purchasing this book (linked just below)!
Here is the quote from A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), by David Chytraeus, page 105:
Q. How is a person justified before God?
A. This occurs solely by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ; that is, freely, not because of any works or merits of one’s own but only because of the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial victim and propitiation on our behalf. By this sacrifice, man obtained forgiveness of sins and became righteous; that is, God-pleasing and acceptable. His righteousness was imputed to man for Christ’s sake, and man becomes an heir of eternal life when he believes with certainty that God gives him these blessings for the sake of His Son. [emphasis mine]
A friend asked me about the past tenses in the verbs highlighted above. I thought the construction was a bit strange and uncharacteristic of what I have read of Chytraeus, so I looked up some Latin editions available on Google.  I couldn’t find a 1568 publication, but I did find several others, including a 1569 publication that says in the notes it was begun in 1568.  In any case, all the available editions are the same with regard to the phrases in question. 
Here is the Latin, with my English translation, from the editions available online.
1556 & 1561 (identical text)
Quomodo consequitur Homo remissionem peccatorum et Iusticiam coram Deo?
Sola Fide in Filium Dei Iesum Christum, hoc est, gratis, non propter ulla propria opera aut merita, sed tantum propter unicum Mediatorem Jesum Christum, qui pro nobis victima et propiciator factus, consequitur Homo remissionem peccatorum, Spiritum Sanctum, et fit iustus, hoc est, Deo placens et acceptus, propter Christum, iusticia imputata, et fit haeres vitae aeternae, cum certo credit haec bona sibi a Deo propter Filium donari.
How does a man obtain the remission of sins and righteousness before God?
By faith alone in the Son of God, Jesus Christ—that is, freely, not for the sake of any works or merits of one’s own, but only for the sake of the one Mediator Jesus Christ who became for us a Victim and Propitiator—a man obtains the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and becomes righteous—that is, pleasing and acceptable to God—for the sake of Christ, by means of imputed righteousness, and becomes an heir of eternal life, when he firmly believes that these good things are being given to him by God for the sake of the Son.
1569 (this seems to be the source text of the original translation above)
Quomodo justificatur Homo coram Deo?
Sola fide in filium Dei Iesum Christum, hoc est, gratis, non propter ulla propria opera aut merita, sed tantum propter unicum mediatorem Jesum Christum, qui pro nobis victima et propiciator factus est, consequitur Homo remissionem peccatorum, et fit Iustus, hoc est, Deo placens et acceptus, propter Christum iusticia imputata, et fit haeres vitae aeternae, cum certo credit haec bona sibi ab Deo propter Filium donari.
How is a man justified before God?
By faith alone in the Son of God, Jesus Christ—that is, freely, not for the sake of any works or merits of one’s own, but only for the sake of the one Mediator Jesus Christ who became for us a Victim and Propitiator—a man obtains the remission of sins and becomes righteous—that is, pleasing and acceptable to God—for the sake of Christ, by means of imputed righteousness, and becomes an heir of eternal life when he firmly believes that these good things are being given to him by God for the sake of the Son.
1580
Quomodo justificatur Homo coram Deo?
Gratis, non propter ulla propria opera aut merita, sed tantum propter unicum mediatorem Jesum Christum, qui pro nobis victima et propiciator factus est, consequitur Homo in vera conversione remissionem peccatorum, et fit justus, hoc est Deo placens et acceptus, propter Christum justicia imputata, et fit haeres vitae aeternae, cum certo credit haec bona sibi a Deo propter filium donari.
How is a man justified before God?
Freely, not for the sake of any works or merits of one’s own, but only for the sake of the one Mediator Jesus Christ, who became for us a Victim and Propitiator, a man obtains, in true conversion, the remission of sins, and becomes righteous—that is, pleasing and acceptable to God—for the sake of Christ, by means of imputed righteousness, and becomes an heir of eternal life, when he firmly believes that these good things are being given to him by God for the sake of the Son.


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