by Rev. Brent W. Kuhlman, S.T.M. of Trinity Lutheran Church, Murdock, Nebraska
The way of salvation for Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas and most theologians and practitioners of Christianity in these very modern/post-modern times is the progression from vice to virtue, from sin to sanctification. Martin Luther (November 10, 1483-February 18, 1546) grew up in this theological milieu. Accordingly, he learned that salvation depended on doing one's best with the help of God's grace (facere quod in se est) received through the sacraments of the church. Divine grace was the high octane additive (or the performance enhancing drug) that powered the virtues of faith, hope, and love as the Christian pilgrimmed on or laddered up to the encounter or union with God in beatific vision. Faith was necessary but never sufficient nor alone (sola) on this continuum. Something in addition to faith was needed for sanative salvation. Faith had to be formed by love otherwise it was worthless. "The movement of faith is only perfect if it is informed by charity; therefore in the justification of the unrighteous, there is also a movement of charity together with the movement of faith."
Consequently, a person becomes righteous by doing righteous deeds. Salvation is a process of ascent on the continuum from lower to higher. Salvation is always and only a goal that can be potentially achieved by what you do with the help of divine grace that eventually perfects your nature. You are what you accomplish! Practice makes perfect! Michael Jordan didn't come out of his mother's womb slam dunking basketballs with his signature style. It took tons and tons of practice. Similarly, in the medieval theological climate, your entire life must be dedicated to the ladder of ascent (facere quod in se est) so that the goal (beatific vision / union with God) may be achieved. You're entirely preoccupied with the intra nos look at yourself to see how you are doing on the continuum. Avery Cardinal Dulles' answer to a question regarding his salvation at a theological symposium a few year ago went something like this: "To say that I will go to heaven when I die is presumptuous. I do know that I will not go to hell." This is the life on the continuum. Always doing the bookkeeping job. Always working on your salvation. Talk about being "purpose driven!"
This medieval (and quite modern/post-modern) religious matrix is the upwardly mobile life of Genesis 3 (that is promised as death) lived out all over again. Adam and Eve believe the satanic lie that they cannot trust God and His Word. He must be holding out on them. God is not good anymore. So they take control. They take charge. They will be self-sufficient. After all, the fruit is pleasing to the eye! What potential! What possibilities! They refuse to be humans (creatures) as man (male), woman (female), husband, wife, father, mother, and stewards of the garden. Faith toward God and fervent love toward each other as well as all the plants and animals of Eden give way to lives curved in on themselves. It is the ambitio divinitatis!  "You shall be as gods and determine what is good for yourselves!"  It is the life [death] of self-security, self-trust, narcissism, and idolatry.
Martin Luther put his all into this theological pattern. It was a matter of life and death after all. So much so that his brush with death and the vivid reminder of the Last Day's judgment in the July 2, 1505 Stotternheim thunderstorm led him to abandon his life as a promising young lawyer, disobey the Fourth Commandment, and use whatever help he could to get right with God. He cried out: "St. Anne, help me! I will become a monk!" He would become a monk! That's really no surprise. After all, monasticism was the surest way to eventually get to heaven. Luther would give it everything he had (facere quod in se est) with the help of divine grace in order to placate Pantocrator Judge Jesus who gives sinners what they deserve.
Fifteen days after the thunderstorm (July 17, 1505) Luther entered the winner take all ambitio divinitatis race and bid a forever farewell to a career in law, marriage, family and the world as a whole. He entered the Observant Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt. After the one-year probation of being a novice, he took his vows. During the service the monks sang "Great Father Augustine." The prior removed Luther's probationary garb and put on the monk's habit to symbolize the putting off the old man and putting on the new. Then they sang: "Come Holy Ghost." Luther knelt before the seated prior on whose knees lay the open book of the order's rule. Luther swore obedience to God, Mary, the prior, and to a life of chastity, poverty and obedience. Now monk Luther receives congratulations. He is as innocent or as pure as he was at his baptism. Holiness is restored. He can be at peace with himself and with God.
But there was no peace. Life as an Observant Augustinian monk was one of always keeping score. Luther relentlessly tabulated his sins and measured them against his good works (his facere quod in se est). Sins could be atoned for by praying the canonical hours, offering the sacrifice of the mass, praying the rosary, and by attending penance. But Luther found no comfort. He remained a sinner. Jesus remained Pantocrator Judge! The progression from vice to virtue, from sin to sanctification was going nowhere.
When the Gospel comes clear to him, Luther confesses that salvation is received, not achieved. It is a salvation entirely propter Christum, sola fide! "Therefore true faith in Christ is a treasure beyond comparison which brings with it complete salvation and saves man from every evil, as Christ says in the last chapter of Mark: ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved.'" So salvation is not the goal or process of life (in the upwardly climbing the ladder of ambititio divinitatis) whereby you become righteous by doing righteous deeds. This is the religion of Plato, Aristotle, Muslims, Jews and Roman Catholics that mandates the climb into God's heaven whereby you break your neck!
Instead, salvation is the Most High God's descent to dwell with sinners in the flesh of His Son Jesus and to die as a criminal on the cross bearing the world's sin. We do not go to Him in His majesty (nakedness). He comes to us. He reveals Himself to us as He hides in the en-fleshed and en-crypted Christ and His Word. There He is mercifully "for you." Consequently, Dr. Luther writes the following commentary on Psalm 51:
Let no one, therefore, ponder the Divine Majesty, what God has done and how mighty He is; or think of man as the master of his property, the way the lawyer does; or of his health in the way the physician does. But let him think of man as sinner. The proper subject of theology is man guilty of sin and condemned, and God the Justifier and Savior of man the sinner. Whatever is asked or discussed in theology outside this subject is error and poison.
Salvation, then, is the presupposition of life in this world. The salvation job is done. That's Good Friday. In Jesus God justifies the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Because you are righteous coram Deo for Christ's sake sola fide (Romans 3:28; 4:3; 5:1) you do good works (Ephesians 2:10). You do good works for this life not for the life to come. The Christian life is not one of ascent but descent. It is the downward trajectory of serving God by serving the neighbor in love in, with, and under your vocation(s). Because you are justified in Christ sola fide you are content to be the person the Lord made you to be: HUMAN! A CREATURE! MAN (MALE)! WOMAN (FEMALE)! HUSBAND! WIFE! FATHER! MOTHER! Where He put you (THE CREATED WORLD! MADE ME AND ALL CREATURES!).
In 1520, as the Gospel is having its way with Luther, he writes: "A Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor." This is the shape of the Christian life. Freed from trying to save himself with the help of God's grace Luther is now a: "perfectly free lord of all, subject to none" and yet a "perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all." Staying put is what life is all about. It is a Christ-like life lived not for yourself but for the neighbor. Dr. Luther writes:
Although the Christian is thus free from all works, he ought in this liberty to empty himself, take upon himself the form of a servant, be made in the likeness of men, be found in human form, and to serve, help, and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him . . . I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ . . . as our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another.
Freed from the false theological presupposition that good works contribute to salvation, it is no surprise then that Luther does a most outrageous and "heretical" thing in 1525 to those who libelously claim that forensic justification is a fiction. What is that? He marries the former nun Katherina von Bora! A humanly mandated celibacy for salvation is now the heresy! A propter Christum / sola fide salvation frees Luther from the never-ending intra nos look to maintain the ambitio divinitatis to the life of being a husband. He has the breathing space coram Deo to live a life in this world of self-sacrificial love for Katherine and for their six children: Hans (1526), Elizabeth (1527 - died at 8 months), Magdalena (1529 - died at 13 years), Martin (1531), Paul (1533), and Margarethe (1534).
The Luther family took in the children of his deceased sister and an aunt of Katherine. The Luther home also took in many students from Germany and other countries. Martin's generosity (or his lack of sense for finances) drove Katherine crazy. He was always giving away money and possessions to those in need. Her motherly skills, house management, animal husbandry, and agricultural skills revealed the life of love for God in service to her husband and family in the everyday stuff of created life. This was a marriage lived in faith toward God and love for each other. So much so that Luther did another most scandalous thing: he appointed Katherina as sole heir in his will!
A propter Christum / sola fide salvation freed Luther for a doxology of the everyday stuff of created life. He did not need to escape the world in the monastery to achieve salvation. Instead, salvation was achieved completely outside of himself (extra nos) in Christ's Good Friday It Is Finished Death and His Empty Tomb Resurrection. In addition, salvation's delivery or application is received by faith alone in the extra nos preaching of the Gospel and the sacramental Gospel of Baptism, Absolution and the Lord's Supper. With this presupposition, Luther could live in the world to do good works for the sake of and for service to his neighbor. "Now there is no greater service of God than Christian love which helps and serves the needy, as Christ himself will judge and testify at the Last Day, Matthew 25." "The world would be full of worship if everyone served his neighbor, the farmhand in the stable, the boy in the school, maid and mistress in the home."
There is the Divine Service of Word and Sacrament whereby the Lord provides, bestows, and applies the benefits of His Lamb of God death that takes away the sin of the world (beneficium / faith). Such wonderful blessings from the Lord then move "us out into our calling, where his gifts have their fruition. [sacrificium / love]" We are put back into the world to serve the neighbor in a liturgy after the liturgy: vocation.
Consequently, we have been given Die Haustafel etlicher Spruche für allerlei heilige Orden und Stände dadurch dieselbigen als durch eigen Lektion ihres Ampts und Diensts zu ermahnen or what is commonly known as the Table of Duties: Certain Passages of Scripture for Various Holy Orders and Positions Admonishing Them About Their Duties and Responsibilities. The last Bible passage offered is Romans 13:9 "Love your neighbor as yourself" that sums up the Second Table of the Law.
Contra those who contend that the propter Christum / sola fide salvation is to blame for all of Western civilization's problems, I offer the following for consideration. The Reformation's teaching of God's forensic justification ("so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge," Psalm 51:4, that is one of Paul's heavyweight texts in Romans 3 regarding justification forensically done) turned the medieval teaching regarding poverty upside down. Like the liberation theologians of today, medieval scholars and Christians believed that the poor had a divine preferential option for salvation. In other words, they had a decisive edge in the race for salvation because it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter in to the kingdom of heaven. Salvation-wise, it was to one's advantage to be poor and remain poor. In addition, those who were rich could atone for their sins by giving alms to the poor.
But this social and theological paradigm is overturned with the proper teaching of justification sola fide. Carter Lindberg explains: "Since salvation is God's free gift, both poverty and almsgiving lose saving significance. The de-spiritualization of poverty allowed recognition of poverty as a personal and social evil to be combated . . . The poor are no longer the objects of meritorious charity, but neighbors to be served through justice and equity." A forensic justification sola fide resulted in love for the neighbor through the establishment of a common chest for welfare work via the 1522 Wittenberg Church Order.
First of all, this church order prohibited begging. It was way ahead of its time because it gave interest-free loans to workers to be repaid whenever they could. To those who were burdened with high interest loans, the loans would be consolidated at four percent annual interest. The common chest provided for orphans, poor children and poor maidens who needed a dowry for marriage. In addition, poor children could receive educational and vocational training. Lindberg summarizes: "The Wittenberg common chest was a new creation of the Reformation that transformed theology into social praxis." By 1523 the common chest was adopted by the Church Orders of Leisnig, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Altenburg, Kitzingen, Strasbourg, Breslau, and Regensburg.
All this flows from the fact that the baptized are a holy and royal priesthood who offer spiritual sacrifices through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5, 9). We do not offer the sacrifice of the mass as an atoning sacrifice for the living and the dead. That's Good Friday. Instead, because we are given Christ's body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins, for life and for salvation, the holy and royal priesthood offers the spiritual sacrifices. For Wittenberg and for us there is the exhortation to "continually offer to God [through Jesus] a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Hebrews 12:15-16).
Spiritual sacrifices are done in the body, in the world, and in the vocation(s) God has put you. He has good use for you in the world. You are His hands and His mouth for the neighbor. Larvae Dei! You serve God when you serve the neighbor. You love God when you love the neighbor. "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40). Jesus delineates what that life of love looks like. It's all the ordinary stuff of life. And faith doesn't keep score. The works are done within the limit of the creation. They are not ultimate but penultimate, not for the world to come but for this present world.
Spiritual sacrifices include repentance: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:17). They include what you physically do in your vocation: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1). Included here is not thinking you're better than anyone else and using the bodily gifts God has given you for the sake of the neighbor. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited" (Romans 12:9-16). And all this is done in view of God's mercy for you in Christ.
It is precisely within your vocation that God puts the old Adam to death. The struggles and crosses there slingshot you back to the divine service for forgiveness and the raising up of the new man to live before God in righteousness and purity. The divine service then thrusts you out into the world to serve. The old Adam is put to death as you live a life of sacrificial love for the neighbor. The ambitio divinitatis of the old Adam is daily drowned and put to death with all its sins and evil desires. But the fruit of the Gospel and "the fruit of the sacrament [of the altar] . . . is nothing other than love . . . As he gave himself for us with his body and blood in order to redeem us from all misery, so we too are to give ourselves with might and main for our neighbor. This is how a Christian acts. He is conscious of nothing else than that the goods which are his are also give to his neighbor. He makes no distinction, but helps everyone with body and life, goods and honor, as much as he can." The "use" of the sacrament is "for the glory of God and the good of the neighbor."
Consequently, the post-communion collect: "We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in FAITH TOWARD YOU and IN FERVENT LOVE TOWARD ONE ANOTHER . . ." Prior to composing this 1526 Collect, Dr. Luther expresses faith's freedom to serve the neighbor in love in a letter:
From now on, we have no law and are not in debt to anyone else in any way except to love [Romans 13:8]; we do good to our neighbor in the same way as Christ did for us through his blood. For this reason, all laws, works, and commandments that demand of us that we can serve God do not come from God . . . Yet the laws, works, and commandments that are demanded of us for the sake of serving the neighbor, they are good, we should do them, so that we are to obey temporal power in its sphere of authority, follow, and serve, feed the hungry, help the needy.
You are Good Friday-ed! You are died for and forgiven. "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view . . . Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:16-18). You are baptized, absolved, bodied and bloodied. What beneficium (gift / faith)! What Gospel! From that we are "sent forth by God's blessings" to be a blessing of God in the world (sacrificium / love). You are set free to be the human being God created (without any merit or worthiness in you): justified before God by faith alone in Christ. It is a justified-through-faith existence!
Appendix 1: Table of Duties
To Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers
1 Timothy 3:2-4
1 Timothy 3:6
What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors
1 Corinthians 9:14
1 Timothy 5:17-18
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Of Civil Government
1 Timothy 2:1-3
1 Peter 2:13-14
1 Peter 3:7
1 Peter 3:5-6
To Workers of All Kinds
To Employers and Supervisors
1 Peter 5:5-6
1 Timothy 5:5-6
1 Timothy 2:1
Let each his lesson learn with care
And all the household well shall fare.
One leading Evangelical teaches very Roman Catholicly: "Real salvation is not only justification [i.e. forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake]. It cannot be isolated from regeneration, sanctification and, ultimately, glorification. Salvation is an ongoing process as much as it is a past event. It is the work of God through which we are ‘conformed to the image of His Son' (Romans 8:29, cf. Romans 13:11). Genuine assurance comes from seeing the Holy Spirit's transforming work in one's life, not from clinging to the memory of some experience." John F. MacArthur Jr. The Gospel According to Jesus, 23. See also Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium in First Things 43 (May 1994): 15-22. This is endorsed by the likes of Bill Bright, Os Guinness, Nathan Hatch, Mark Noll, James J. I. Packer, Pat Robertson, Richard John Neuhaus, Charles Colson, and Avery Dulles among others. Then there is the infamous and eschatological (in the way of 2 Thessalonians 2) document: Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: The Lutheran World Federation and The Roman Catholic Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000). It insists that, "eternal life is at the same time both a gift and a reward for merit and works." One of the latest is Braaten and Jenson's In One Body Through the Cross: The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). Evangelicals are now coming to the conclusion, based on the same theological presupposition as MacArthur et al, that the Roman Catholic teaching regarding purgatory should be believed and taught. After all, sinners cannot get into heaven until they are essentially holy. When one defines holiness as achievement on the continuum rather than gift through Word and sacraments sola fide, then holiness isn't achieved in this life. One can only hope. It takes a purgatory (a purging / the theological "car wash") to provide a holiness that qualifies a sinner for heaven or union with God. See Jerry L. Walls, "Purgatory for Everyone," in First Things (April 2002): 26-30. Walls explicitly challenges what we Lutherans confess as salvation sola fide. In other words, like MacArthur et al, forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake alone received sola fide does not determine the sinner's salvation. He says: "Salvation . . . is far more than forgiveness of our sins; it is also a matter of thorough moral and spiritual transformation" (26).
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, 1.q. 113, a. 4, ad 1. What's going on here with Aquinas is the adoption of Aristotelian philosophical presuppositions regarding the categories of form and matter. Faith (fides historica or assent to historical truths) is the material. However, in order for this material to take shape and become reality it must be "formed" by love (caritas).
Ambitio Divinitatis = the ambition or desire to be God. Several times Dr. Luther speaks to this. In a June 30, 1530 letter to George Spalatin he writes: "Be strong in the Lord, and on my behalf continuously admonish Philip not to become like God, but to fight that innate ambition to be like God, which was planted in us in paradise by the devil. This [ambition] doesn't do us any good. It drove Adam from paradise, and it alone also drives us away, and drives peace away from us. In summary: we are to be men and not God; it will not be otherwise, or eternal anxiety and affliction will be our reward," (LW 49:337, emphasis added). In his 1517 "Disputation Against Scholastic Theology" he states: "Man is by nature unable to want God to be God. Indeed, he himself wants to be God, and does not want God to be God," (LW 31:10). His 1520 "Treatise on Good Works," maintains that when a sinner relies on what he does for salvation before God and not faith alone in Jesus, he makes himself into an idol. "Now it may well be that if these things are done with such faith that we believe that they please God, then they are praiseworthy, not because of their virtue, but because of that very faith by which all works are of equal value, as has been said. But if we have any doubt about it, or do not believe that God is gracious to us and pleased with us, or if we presume to please him first and foremost by good works, then it is all pure deception. To all appearance God is honored, but in reality the self has been set up as an idol . . . They turn the whole thing into a fairground [Jarmarckt]," (LW 44:32). And then in his 1535 "Lectures on Galatians," Dr. Luther remarks that those who try to win salvation by keeping the law, "not only do not keep it, but they also deny the First Commandment, the promises of God, and the blessing promised to Abraham. They deny faith and try to bless themselves by their own works, that is, to justify themselves, to set themselves free from sin and death, to overcome the devil, and to capture heaven by force - which is to deny God and to set oneself up in place of God, (LW 26:257).
For a contemporary ladder of ascent way read Margaret Miles, The Image and Practice of Holiness (London: SCM, 1988), especially chapter 4: "Staying is Nowhere: Ascent."
The latter half of the fourth century witnessed the birth of monasticism. After Constantine's conversion all citizens of the empire were supposed to be Christian. What do you do to become a Christian when it's the civil religion? When everyone around you already is one? When you see that the Christianity that passes for Christianity doesn't go very deep? You get bloody serious! You raise the standards! You raise the bar! You become a real [purpose driven] Christian! You take on Christ's challenge to love God with all your heart, soul strength and mind. You sell all that you have to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:21). You lead a celibate life because eunuchs do it for the kingdom's sake (Matthew 19:12). You ratchet up the obedience, especially to the Sermon on the Mount, as a true soldier of Christ. This is the higher calling. This is Christianity a cut above the crowd.
To "convert" then means to abandon the world and to take on the "vocation" of monasticism. Now you are "religious." Now you are really on your way to salvation! Again, Aquinas: "It may reasonably be said that through entering a religious order a person attains remission of all sins . . . wherefore it is read in the Lives of the Fathers that those entering a religious order attained the same grace as the baptized" (Summa Theologica II, q. 189, a. 3 ad 3). The Lutheran Confessions observe this history and deplore it. "It was pretended that monastic vows would be equal to baptism, and that through monastic life one could earn forgiveness of sin and justification before God . . . In this way monastic vows were praised more highly than baptism. It was also said that one could obtain more merit through the monastic life than through all other walks of life, which had been ordered by God, such as the office of pastor or preacher, the office of ruler, prince, lord, and the like . . . What is this but to diminish the glory and praise of the grace of Christ and to deny the righteousness of faith?" (Augsburg Confession, Article XXVII, "Vows," in The Book of Concord: Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, edited by Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000: 82.11-86.39; hereafter as BC).
Luther remarks that early on he recoiled from the very name "Jesus" because he viewed it as a synonym for "Judge" (1545 "Lectures on Genesis," LW 8:188). The thought of the Last Day and the presence of Judge Jesus in the mass and the monstrance (1515 Eisleben Corpus Christi Festival) terrified him. Luther was petrified when, on May 2, 1507, he first offered the sacrifice of the mass as an atoning sacrifice for the living and the dead. He wanted to run away from the altar because here in the mass he encountered Judge Jesus without any mediation or help from the saints. However, his teacher insisted that he stay and finish.
Thomas Aquinas maintained that taking the cowl was equivalent to a second baptism. In other words, when you became a monk you were restored to the state of innocence that you first received in your baptism by which original sin is washed away.
See Martin Brecht, Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1483-1521, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1993); also Uuras Saarnivaara, Luther Discovers the Gospel: New Light Upon Luther's Way from Medieval Catholicism to Evangelical Faith (St. Louis: CPH, 1951); see also Heiko A. Oberman, The Two Reformations: The Journey From the Last Days to the New World, edited by Donald Weinstein (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003). As the Gospel comes clear for Luther he abandons the continuum way of salvation and upholds the biblical teaching that the baptized is simul iustus et peccator! See Thomas M. Winger's helpful article, "Simul justus et peccator: Did Luther and the Confessions Get Paul Right?" Lutheran Theological Review, XVII (Academic Year 2004-05): 90-107.
In addition, the corollary to justification sola fide is vocation. This point is often lost by many but is the heart of the Reformation. In the preface to the Smalcald Articles Dr. Luther writes: "Our churches are now enlightened and equipped by God's grace with the pure Word and the correct use of the sacraments, with a recognition of all estates and right actions," BC 300:14. Please note the following Table Talks for the connection between these two as noted above: LW 54:42-44, #312, #315. In his 1528 preface to "Concerning the Marriage as Priest of the Honorable Licentiate Mr. Stephan Klingbeil," he states: "Yes, I think I have held a council and created a reformation . . . For it is true that the correct catechism is on its proper course with our little band, that is, the Lord's Prayer, the confession of the faith, the Ten Commandments, and also what is involved in repentance, baptism, prayer, the cross, life, death, and the Sacrament of the Altar. In addition, it deals with what is involved with marriage, temporal authority, father and mother, wife and child, a man and his son, servant and maid. In brief, I have brought to proper awareness and order all the earthly estates, so that each knows how to live and how to serve God in his estate," WA 26:530, 7f., 28-34, emphasis added. See also his 1522 "Personal Prayer Book," in LW 43:11-12.
1520 "The Freedom of the Christian Man," LW 31:347.
"Sermons on the Gospel of St. John," LW 22:334. "But they all prescribe heavenward journeys on which the travelers will break their necks."
1532 "Commentary on Psalm 51," LW 12:311-312.
1520 "The Freedom of the Christian Man," LW 31:371.
Ibid., 366-368. "For Christians do not become righteous by doing righteous works; but once they have been justified by faith in Christ, they do righteous works," 1520 "Lecture on Galatians," LW 26:256. "I wish to say that ‘without works' is to be understood thus: not that the righteous does nothing, but that his works do not create for him any righteousness; instead, the righteousness [that is given to him by faith in Christ] produces works," 1518 "Heidelberg Disputation," LW 31:55. "We confess that good works must follow faith [cf. Augsburg Confession VI, "that such faith should yield good fruit and good works and that a person must do such good works," BC 40], yes, not only must, but follow voluntarily, just as a good tree not only must produce good fruits, but does so freely," 1535 "Thesis Concerning Faith and Law," LW 34:111.
1523 "Ordinance of a Common Chest," LW 45:172.
"Introduction" to Lutheran Worship (St. Louis: CPH, 1982), 6.
Luther speaks of three orders or estates in the world: church (ecclesiam), house (oeconomiam), and government (politiam). In his Great Confession of 1528 he writes: Above these three institutions and orders is the common order of Christian love, in which one serves not only the three orders, but also serves every needy person in general with all kinds of benevolent deeds, such as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, forgiving enemies, praying for all men on earth, suffering all kinds of evil on earth, etc. Behold all of these are called good and holy works. However none of these orders is a means of salvation. There remains only one way above them all, viz. Faith in Jesus Christ" LW 37:365.
See Appendix 1 at the end of this paper.
"Luther's Struggle With Social-Ethical Issues," in The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther, edited by Donald K. McKim (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 171. See also his Beyond Charity: Reformation Initiatives for the Poor (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
No wonder since Luther later writes: "All who display, and boast of, external poverty are disciples and servants of Satan, who rage directly contrary to the Lord and His Christ . . . Poverty, I say, is not to be recommended, chosen, or taught; for there is enough of that by itself, as He says (John 12:8): ‘The poor you always have with you,' just as you will have all other evils. But constant care should be taken that, since these evils are always in evidence, they are always opposed," ("Lectures on Deuteronomy," LW 9:147-148).
For more see Lindberg, Beyond Charity.
Melanchthon speaks of "sacrifices of praise" that include "the preaching of the gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the affliction of the saints, and indeed, all the good works of the saints," BC, Apology, XXIV, 261:19.
1526 "The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ - Against the Fanatics," AE 36:352-353.
1526 "Preface to the German Mass," AE 53:61.
Lutheran Service Book, 166, emphasis added.
1523 "Letter to the Esslingen City Congregation," WA 12:157, 6-14.