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Dutiful Love and Godly Fear

September 13, 2020
By Martin Luther

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.

HEBREWS 5:7

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Dutiful Love and Godly Fear

The Greek word . . . means "godly fear" ["reverence"] as well as "dutiful love." Therefore they take it to mean dutiful love, namely, the love the Father naturally has for the Son . . . so that the meaning is that even though we were completely deserving of wrath, yet it was proper for the Father's love to hear the Son for us, so that the love He could not deny the Son is set against our iniquity, because of which He could have denied everything to every one of us. Therefore with this word the apostle calls forth for us confidence in God because God considered His love, not our iniquities. . .. The word can be taken in an active sense, namely, the godly fear with which Christ revered the Father . . .. Therefore the meaning will be that Christ was heard, not because we were worthy—indeed, we were completely unworthy on account of our irreverence—but because His godly fear was worthy and was so great that He was heard for the sake even of those who were altogether unworthy and irreverent.

From Lectures on Hebrews (Luther's Works 29:177-78)