f The Wittenberg Door: Notable Quote: Martin Luther

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Notable Quote: Martin Luther

By using the relationship between father and son as an analogy, Martin Luther explains justification . . .

A son is born an heir, is not made one, and inherits his father’s goods without any work or merit. Meanwhile, however, the father commands and exhorts his son to be diligent in doing this or that. He promises him a reward or a gift in order that in return for it he may obey more readily and freely: “If you’re good and listen, if you study diligently, I’ll buy you a nice coat. Come here to me and I’ll give you a beautiful apple.” In this way the father helps his son in his weakness, although the inheritance belongs to him on other grounds. This is done for the sake of pedagogy.

God also deals with us in this way. He coaxes us with promises of spiritual and physical things, although eternal life is given freely to those who believe in Christ as children of adoption, etc. So it ought to be taught in the church that God will repay good works, save in the article of justification, which is the origin and source of all other promises. One should say, “Believe and you will be saved; do what you will, it won’t help [to be saved].” Accordingly we should remember that those promises and rewards are the pedagogy by which God, as a very gentle father, invites and entices us to do good, serve our neighbor, etc.”

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