Luther: A Christian Must Believe He is In A State Of Grace

I have indicated in a variety of ways that the Christian man must believe for a certainty that he is in a state of divine grace, and that he has the cry of the Holy Spirit in his heart, especially when he is performing his proper function, which is to confess or to suffer for confessing. I did this in order that you might utterly repudiate the wicked idea of the entire kingdom of the pope, the teaching that a Christian man must be uncertain about the grace of God toward him. If this opinion stands, then Christ is completely useless. For whoever doubts the grace of God toward him this way must necessarily doubt the promises of God and therefore the will of God, as well as the birth, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. There is no greater blasphemy against God than to deny the promises of God and God Himself, Christ, etc. Therefore it was the height not only of insanity but of wickedness when the monks were so zealous in enlisting the youth of both sexes in the monasteries for their religious and, as they called them, “holy” orders, as a sure state of salvation; and then, once they were enlisted, they commanded them to doubt the grace of God. Thus the pope also summoned the whole human race to the obedience of the holy Roman Church as a holy estate in which they would be sure to obtain salvation, and then he commanded those who obeyed his laws to have doubts. In this way the kingdom of Antichrist first boasts and exaggerates the sacredness of its laws, orders, and rules, and it promises the certainty of eternal life to those who observe them; but then, when the miserable beings have been punishing their bodies for a long time in accordance with human traditions by keeping vigils, fasting, etc., their reward for all this is not to know whether or not this obedience of theirs is pleasing to God. Satan took a horrible delight in the killing of souls by the papists. Therefore the papacy is a veritable torture chamber of consciences and the very kingdom of the devil.

Martin Luther | Luther’s Works, Vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4,  ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 26 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 385–386.


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Posted by Tony Phelps | Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | Categorized Grace, HeidelQuotes, Martin Luther, Scripture | Tagged Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Phelps

Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children. Meet all the Heidelberg contributors»


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