A few choice excerpts from the closing section of Mbird cornerstone On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518, pgs 105-115:

Aristotle sets forth commonsense human wisdom about good works. What he says certainly seems meet, right and salutory. We learn to play the piano only by practicing, we learn a skill only by doing. This is the wisdom by which the world runs. It is what lawmakers try to inculcate. But not here… The cross has reversed everything. The foolishness of God in the cross is wiser than the wisdom of the world. The righteousness that avails before God is a being claimed by the crucified and resurrected Christ. It is not like accomplishing something but like dying and coming to life. It is not like earning something but more like falling in love. It is not the attainment of a long-sought goal, the arrival at the end of a process, but the beginning of something absolutely new, something never before heard of or entertained…

Christ leaves nothing for the Old Adam and Eve to do. The old can only be killed by the law, not given artificial respiration by recourse to it… To the theologian of the cross the language of grace and faith must be pushed absolutely to this length — until it kills the old and raises the new. Nothing at all will ever be gained from backing down. We will only fall back into law where the demand continues endlessly and nothing is ever finally done. So we can only let the language of grace sound forth. Grace says, “believe it” and everything – EVERYTHING! – is already done. It is the creative Word of God. If that doesn’t work then nothing will…

All else has been shorn away, put to death. What remains is simply the creative love of God… It is love, the love of God that creates out of nothing, calls into being that which is from that which is not. This love of God that creates its object is contrasted absolutely with the love of humans. Human love is awakened by attraction to what pleases it. It must search to find its object and, one might add, will likely toss it aside when it tires of it…

God is not, as in the theology of glory, one who waits to approve those who have improved themselves, made themselves acceptable, or merited approval, but one who bestows good on the bad and needy. The great reversal is complete…

Here at last the existential situation of the fallen creatures, the sinfulness and need for salvation, is equated with the very question of being itself. We get further insight into what it means to look on all things through suffering and the cross. Whereas the theologian of glory tries to see through the needy, the poor, the lowly, and the “nonexistent,” the theologian of the cross knows that the love of God creates precisely out of nothing. Therefore the sinner must be reduced to nothing in order to be saved… [This] is the hope of the resurrection. God brings life out of death. He calls into being that which is from that which is not. In order that there be a resurrection, the sinner must die. All presumption must be ended. The truth must be seen. Only the “friends of the cross” who have been reduced to nothing are properly prepared to receive the justifying grace poured out by the creative love of God. All other roads are closed.