Thursday, October 16, 2014

Something from Luther: On Faith and Good Works

          Here is a statement from Martin Luther concerning faith, good works, and how they are related.  Though Lutherans believe that good works do not save us, that does not mean we are opposed to good works.  They flow from faith, and a living faith will produce them.  Good works are done because they are God's will.  And good works are done because they benefit our neighbor who needs them.

          Luther's quote:

          “Each one must believe for himself, just as I must believe all the Gospels for myself.  I cannot hear or believe or keep for any one else so much as a single letter of the gospel, even as I cannot be baptized for any one else.  But a good work I can always to do another person and for another person.  Indeed, I have to do them for somebody else or they are not good works.  For example, I can pray for you, serve you, work for you, suffer for you, and so forth.  There is a great difference between faith and good works, just as vast as the difference in value between the tree and the fruit.  Fruits disappear and return each year, but the tree remains always.  Faith also remains always, but works disappear.”
-- The Adoration of Sacrament, April, 1523
(Luther’s Works, AE, Vol. 36, p 289)

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