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A Most Ardent Plea for Grace

March 14, 2019
By Martin Luther

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

PSALM 19:12

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A Most Ardent Plea for Grace

Only before God should one acknowledge guilt which does not exist, not before men. I can truthfully say that I have not committed adultery and have not stolen, but I cannot say in general that I have committed no sin against the Sixth and Seventh Commandments. For in these circumstances I must be afraid of God's judgment, even though I am not conscious of anything. Sin has not yet been done away with, nor has it been completely buried; and to have restrained one's hands is not enough for God. He condemns even the lust of the heart. Therefore we are right in acknowledging before Him guilt where there is no guilt, that is, where we are not conscious of anything. We are right in saying with David (Psalm 19:12): "Who can discern his errors? Cleanse me of my hidden faults." For God holds even our original sin against us. . .. God always regards us as responsible and answerable to Him.

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 3:349-50)

March 14