“The sermon on the mount was preached in the interest of the great salvation which came by the grace and truth which were revealed through Christ, and its preaching of the law as a schoolmaster to bring us unto Him for salvation is always needed in our world of sin.
“But more than this concerns us in our Lord’s exposition of the Law. It is meant for all Christians of all time, and when men err in its application, the error does not lie in assuming the sermon to be authoritative as a divine guide to right life in Christ’s kingdom. That is not a mistake. The will of God always was man’s righteousness and never could be otherwise. Be ye holy, for the Lord your God is holy. That has ever been the law of God’s government. And that is the law which our Savior explains and enforces in this sermon. The error of the legalists lies in their attempt to substitute that law for the Gospel, and thus to make Christ a minister of Moses instead of accepting Him as the Savior of the world. The effect of such error is to keep people under the bondage of the law, and to deprive them of the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, and of the peace and joy which come by faith in Him as their Redeemer from sin and death. — Matthias Loy.
Matthias Loy (1828-1915) was a theological giant of American Lutheranism. He served as president of the Joint Synod of Ohio, the Columbus Seminary and Capital University, and edited the Lutheran Standard and the Columbus Theological Magazine. In 1881 he withdrew the Joint Synod from the Synodical Conference as a result of Walther’s teaching about predestination. Many of Matthias Loy’s books are available in Lutheran Library editions.