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Coat Of Arms Theology


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Luther's Coat of Arms

Luther's Seal

Luther’s prince, John Frederick, appointed Lazarus Spengler at Nuremberg to make a ring for Luther. Spengler sent Luther a preliminary sketch of the coat of arms, asking for Luther's approval. Luther wrote the following reply:

Luther's se Seel

Luther se prins, Johannes Frederick, het Lazarus Spengler van Nuremberg aangestel om ‘n ring vir Luther te maak. Spengler het vir Luther ‘n voorlopgige skets van die wapenskild gestuur vir goedkeuring. Luther het die volgende antwoord geskryf:

English Version


Afrikaans Version
Grace and peace in Christ, Honoured Dear Sir and Friend:
Since you wish to know whether they have got my seal right, I will tell you how I originally planned my coat-of-arms as a symbol of my theology.

The first thing should be a cross, black, on a heart retaining its natural colour, to remind me that it is faith in the Crucified that saves us. A person can only become righteous when he believes with his whole heart. And though it be a black cross, mortifying the flesh and purposely inflicting pain, it does not change the colour of the heart nor destroy its nature. It does not kill, but rather preserves life. For the just shall live by faith, namely, faith in the Crucified.

This heart should be set in the midst of a white rose, to show that such faith yields joy, peace and comfort such as the world cannot give. That is why the rose is white and not red, for white is the colour of spirits and angels.

This rose is placed on a field of heavenly blue, because such spiritual joy and faith are a beginning of heavenly joys to come, which are even now possessed by faith and understood in hope, although they are not yet evident to the outward eye.
And, encircling this field is a ring of gold, to signify that this bliss of heaven endures forever, and is more precious than all earthly pleasures and possessions, even as gold is the most precious of metals.
May Christ our dear Lord be with your spirit until it attains to that life. Amen.

[N.B.  The Latin legend “Vivit” means:
“He (Christ) lives!”]

Heil en vrede in Christus, Geerde Geliefde Heer en Vriend:
Aangesien u wil weet of hulle my seël reggekry het, sal ek u vertel hoe ek my wapenskild oorspronklik beplan het as ‘n simbool van my teologie.

Die eerste ding behoort ‘n kruis te wees, ‘n swarte, op ‘n hart van natuurlike kleur, om my te herinner dat dit geloof in die Gekruisigde is wat ons red. Iemand kan net geregverdig word indien hy (of sy) met sy (of haar) hele hart glo. En alhoewel dit ‘n swart kruis is, wat die vlees kasty en doelbewus pyn veroorsaak, verander dit nie die kleur van die hart en vernietig ook nie die aard daarvan nie. Dit maak nie dood nie; dit hou eerder lewe in stand. Want die regverdige sal uit die geloof lewe, naamlik geloof in die Gekruisigde.

Hierdie hart moet in die middel van ‘n wit roos geplaas word, om te wys dat sodanige geloof vreugde, vrede en troos bring soos die wereld nie kan gee nie. Dit is waarom die roos wit is en nie rooi nie, want wit is die kleur van geeste en engele.

Hierdie roos word geplaas op ‘n hemelsblou agtergrond omdat sodanige geestelike vreugde en geloof die begin is van hemelse vreugdes in die toekoms, wat ons nou reeds in die geloof besit en in die hoop verstaan, alhoewel ons uiterlike oog dit nog nie kan sien nie.
En rondom die agtergrond is daar ‘n goue ring, om aan te dui dat hemelse saligheid ewig duur, en selfs kosbaarder is as al die aardse plesiere en besittings, net soos goud die kosbaarste metaal is.
Mag Christus ons Here met u gees wees totdat dit daardie lewe bereik. Amen.

[N.B.  Die Latynse randskrif “Vivit” beteken:
“Hy (Christus) lewe!”]

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