Martin Luther - Lesson 6

The Freedom of a Christian

Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 6
Watching Now
The Freedom of a Christian

I. The Historical Setting

A. The Leipzig Debate

B. The other two treatises

1. Address to the Christian Nobility

2. Babylonian Captivity of the Church

C. An attempt at conciliation

II. The Genre of the Writing

A. Augustine's Enchiridion

B. Theologia Deutsch

C. The Freedom of the Christian

III. Outline of the Treatise

A. The Inner Man

1. What makes one a Christian? - The Word

2. What effects does faith have?

a. Faith alone justifies.

b. Faith honors whom it trusts.

c. Faith unites the soul with Christ.

3. Christ imparts prerogatives to us.

a. We are kings.

b. We are priests.

B. The Outer Man

1. Why are good works commanded?

2. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore one cannot remain idle.

3. The standard by which works are interpreted

4. Works for the neighbor

  • Dr. Isaacs summarizes the course objectives and lists the recommended textbooks.
  • Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.

  • Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

  • When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.

  • Luther's writings demonstrate his ability to understand and articulate issues that are at the core of the nature of God and man. His theology is distinct from philosophy and consists of many comments on passages in Psalms and Romans.

  • Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

  • The work of Christ when he allowed himself to be crucified on the cross, teaches us about God's nature, our nature and our relationship to God.

  • Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).

  • Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.

  • Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.

  • Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.

  • Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

  • Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

  • The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.

  • Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.

  • Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.

  • The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.

  • Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.

  • Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.

  • Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.

This course is an introduction to the life and writings of the great German reformer, Martin Luther. There are 20 lectures totaling approximately 18 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Dr. Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther 
The Freedom of a Christian
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:02] Okay. As we get underway today, let's hear some words from from Luther. Galatians chapter five, verse one says this For freedom, Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore. Christ has set us free, not from some human slave slavery or tyrannical authority, but from the eternal wrath of God. Where in the conscience this is where our freedom comes to a halt. It goes no further. For Christ has set us free. Not for a political freedom or a freedom of the flesh, but for a theological or spiritual freedom. Our conscience is free and joyful, unafraid of the wrath to come. This is the most genuine freedom. It is immeasurable for who can express what a great gift it is for someone to be able to declare for certain that God neither is nor ever will be wrathful, but will forever be a gracious and merciful father for the sake of Christ. It is a great and incomprehensible freedom that is easier to talk about than it is to believe. If this freedom of Christ has achieved for us, could be grasped in its certainty, no fury or terror of the world. The law. Sin. Death. The devil could be too great, for it would swallow them up as quickly as the ocean swallows a spark. This freedom of Christ certainly swallows up and abolishes a whole heap of evils. And in their place it establishes righteousness, peace, life and more. Blessed is the one who understands and believes this. Let's pause for prayer. Almighty God, our dear Heavenly Father, we pray that you might grant us your grace, that we and all others may treat each other in kindly, gentle and charitable ways, forgiving one another from the heart, baring each other's faults and shortcomings in a Christian and loving manner, and thus living together in true peace and concord as the commandment teaches and requires us to do.

[00:02:30] Amen. Okay, let's get underway. We're going to be talking about the freedom of a Christian, that treatise that Luther wrote in the year 1520. It's a rollicking and perhaps one might even say a lyrical piece. And in your own readings, no doubt you've underlined passages that have struck you and have challenged your own Christian thinking. What I'd like to do is put this treatise in its own historical setting and we'll be talking about a couple of things that'll help us get a feel for this. In reading over mind, you know that the Leipzig debate, which took place in the summer of 1519 was a critical event in the life of Luther. It forced Luther further on down his reformation pathway. He was urged and forced by Your Highness in the course of that debate to make statements with regard to the papacy and to the nature of the church that up to that point, Luther had not been willing to make. So it forced Luther to state that councils can air, that the pope can and has aired. And it put him in a situation where Yohannes, EC and some others claimed that Luther really was just reviving that old bohemian heresy, that Bohemian virus that Jan Hus had set forward well before Luther. So in the aftermath of the Leipzig debate, we find that Luther was really hard pressed and hard at work in the five and a half months after the debate. Luther published no fewer than 16 treatises, which, though not so intended, increased his reputation as a controversial figure. One of the treatises the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ and the Brotherhoods published in 1519, involved Him in a quarrel with the Bishop of Meissen and indirectly with Duke George of Saxony.

[00:04:45] Duke George, as you might remember, was the host for the Leipzig debate. If you read through that treatise on the Blessed Sacrament, it really wouldn't strike you as being a polemic treatise. And so why this brought him into into a quarrel is something that has to be drawn out. But nonetheless, this is just illustrative of the kind of work that Luther was hard at work preparing for the public at large. After the Leipzig debate, there is tremendous pressure that's put on Luther. There are a number of Roman controversialist who write against him. There was a Franciscan Friar Augustine Fund, all velt who wrote against Luther. He published a work in German that Luther replied to. And Luther's reply was entitled The Papacy at Rome, an answer to the celebrated Roman Forst at Leipzig. And in his response to these attacks against him, Luther had to continue to articulate his own understanding of the position and place that the the bishops and the Pope had with relationship to the church. Luther writes this Moreover, I should be truly glad of kings, princes and all the nobles would take hold and turn the naves from Rome out of the country and keep the appointment to bishop risks and benefits out of their hands. How has Roman Avarice come to usurp all the foundations? Bishop Bricks and benefits of our fathers. Who has ever read or heard of such monstrous robbery? Do we not also have the people who need them? Well, out of our poverty, we must enrich the at the ask drivers and stable boys. Nay, the harlots and knaves at Rome who look upon us as nothing else but errant fools and make us the objects of their vile mockery. Oh, the pity that kings and princes have so little reverence for.

[00:07:03] Christ. And His honor concerns them so little that they allow such heinous abominations to gain the upper hand and look on while at Rome. They think of nothing but to continue in their madness and to increase the abounding misery until no hope is left on earth except in the temporal authorities. About this. If this Romans attacks me again, I will say more later. Let this suffice for a beginning. And so it is in this vein that Luther is fighting against some who are coming against him and his understanding of the nature of the church and what should happen. This reference here to the bishopric, the it wasn't the local hierarchy of the church that could get that could determine who the next bishop was going to be. But it was actually people in Rome that were determining who was going to be bishop, who was going to be ruling in the church in Germany. And they thought that this was outlandish and quite often it was done, as in the case of Albrecht, of Magdeburg. It was usually determined on the basis of financial considerations, not because these individuals would necessarily take care of the people in their charge. There are two other treatises that Luther writes in the year 1520 that comprise what they call the three treatises, and there have been translations of these three treatises bound together. And quite often those are used in introductions to Luther and his and his theology. One of the other treatises is the address to the Christian nobility in which Luther sets forward his understanding of how there has been a stonewalling, as it were, against the reform of the church. And he's addressing the Christian nobility, saying you as Christian nobles, have responsibility to help create an environment in which the church can do its work properly.

[00:09:19] Up to this point, the church has not been able to do its work because of certain abuses. Luther sets up his treatise and cites the fact that there are three walls behind which the papacy has entrenched its power. And he sets out in this treatise to demolish these three walls behind which the papacy has hidden. The first wall Luther identifies is the concept of spiritual and secular classes. There are two classes. There is the secular estates and there are the spiritual estates. And this view of the world separates things into that which is secular and that which is spiritual or religious. Luther, in talking about this first wall, attempts to remove this distinction between clergy and laity. One, this distinction which is conferred upon the state, the rulers of which, as Luther saw it, were Christians and therefore priests, the right and duty to curb evil no matter where it appeared. And he essentially is attempting to recast a vision of Christian society as not a matter of distinction between secular and sacred, but rather as a matter of common good, which everyone has a responsibility to contribute toward. Whether one happens to be a magistrate, whether one happens to be a monk, whether one happens to be a common worker. This also is part and parcel of Luther's concept of Christian vocation. So no matter what kind of work you do, you are contributing to society within which God has placed us all. The second wall against which the papacy had hidden was the papal claim that had been set forward by August and Oswald and others against him that only the Pope can interpret scripture and that because only the Pope could summon a council, the decisions of a council were invalid without papal sanction.

[00:11:46] So the second wall is the notion that the pope and only the pope could summon a council and that the decisions of the council were subject to the pope. In other words, you say this was this was a leftover of the medieval discussion of conciliar ism and curial ism. The Curia lists said the pope is the one who calls the council and the pope is the one who presides over the council and determines what is legitimate. The conciliar ists, on the other hand, said, No, no, no, no. The Pope doesn't predetermine the outcome of a council, but it's the council. It's the gathering of these cardinals that finally determine how the course of the church should be set. So there's a real question of authority in all of this. And you see how circular this is. From Luther's point of view, it's absurd for the pope to be the only one who can call a council. Well, when is the pope going to call a council if the pope might lose some power or authority in that council? We'd already seen the great debacle during the Great Schism, where at one time there were three different popes. And the difficulty that ensued in determining who is going to ultimately be the pope. So this is a circular situation where only the pope could call a council, and it was only the pope who could decide what determinations or which determinations within that council could be considered as binding and valid. So this is the second wall that Luther attempts to destroy in his address to the German nobility. The third wall is that it is it's only the pope who can call the council. And he claims that whenever the church sees itself in need of a council, that anyone who is really truly concerned with the care of the church should be able to call the council.

[00:13:50] And so this address to the German nobility is another of the very famous treatises Luther wrote in 1520, the third treatise Well, actually, we should say the second of the the two treatises is the Babylonian captivity of the church. And this is a lively piece where Luther aims a dagger, as it were, at the heart of the church's sacramental power. The Babylonian captivity of the church is a treatise which deals directly with sacramental schism. The seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church as practiced in his day. In this treatise, interestingly enough, Luther goes directly for a redefinition of the mass or what has now come down to us in the Protestant tradition as the Lord's Supper. He claims that there are three abuses that the Roman Catholic Church has perpetrated in its celebration of the mass. The first abuse of the Roman Catholic Church in the mass is the withholding of the cup from the laity. So in other words, what Luther is doing is he's saying what we need to do is we need to go back to the words of institution to determine how it is. We should celebrate the sacrament. And both the bread and the cups should be given to the laity. So the laity should receive the Lord's Supper in both kinds. So the first abuse is that the Roman Catholic Church in the mass withholds the cut from the laity against the the stipulation of Scripture. The second abuse is the doctrine of transubstantiation. The second abuse is Luther sees it is the doctrine of transubstantiation. Now, the doctrine of transubstantiation is an Aristotelian explanation of how the body and blood are, how the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ in the celebration of the mass at the critical moment in the mass.

[00:16:12] The priest would elevate the elements and a bell would be rung on the side of the chancel. And at that moment it was said the transubstantiation had occurred. And Luther claims. Well, listen, if you want to believe in transubstantiation, that's all well and good by me. But for my way of thinking, it presents too many philosophical obstacles. It's not necessary to conceive of the transformation in this manner. Now, transubstantiation, just a quick word. We'll go into this later on in the semester. But transubstantiation takes Aristotelian categories and applies it to the transformation. Basically, it goes like this The bread is brown. You look at the bread is brown, it has brownness. And that is the accident, the substance. It's it's by substance, it is bread, but its accident is brownness. Now, it retains the accidents. It still looks like bread, still brown. But in transubstantiation, the substance or the essence of that of that bread changes to body of Christ in like manner. The wine, the redness remains, the accident remains, but the substance changes to the blood of Christ. And Luther says, you know, this is this is an explanation of how this happens. For Luther, he's not so much concerned with the House. He is much more interested in the words of institution from which the great meaning and the proclamation of the sacrament are derived. And so later on, we'll find that in Luther he continues to believe in a real presence. The body and blood of Christ are really present in the Lord's Supper, but not in a crass Copernican manner. But they are present there nonetheless, because Jesus says, This is my body, this is my blood. Why? For the forgiveness of sins that for Luther is at the heart of the Lord's Supper.

[00:18:26] And he's afraid that with all of the the symbols and the trappings, the ceremonies surrounding this, this business that is becoming lost. The third abuse or the third captivity of the mass is the belief that the mass is a sacrifice that the priest offers to the Lord. He says, No, no, no, the Lord's Supper. The mass is not a sacrifice that the priest offers, but rather it is something which God himself gives to us. It's not our sacrifice to God, but it is rather the Lord's Supper in which He gives something to us. And so there's a radical transformation here in terms of Luther's thinking. Also, Luther goes after the notion that the mass is a good work simply by doing it. Now, you see, Luther is hard at work During this year. 1520, the address to the German nobility attacks the political and societal structure that the world for a thousand years had been built on in like manner. He comes across to the celebration of the Central Christian Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and he recasts that totally in terms of his evangelical theology, once again, a coming against the very heart of the Roman Catholic tradition, which had been established for. Approximately a thousand years. Luther is doing something incredibly radical in both of those treatises. And not only that. Then he moves on to the third treatise, which is a freedom of a Christian, which we've had the chance to read in preparation for today. Now, as you've noticed, very interestingly, there is an introductory letter to Pope Leo, the 10th attached to this treatise. And isn't it interesting that it's so conciliatory? He speaks in the most reverent terms as he comes on this. He addresses Pope Leo in almost what one could consider a familiar manner.

[00:20:52] And he says, living among the monsters of this age, with whom I am now for the third year waging war, I'm compelled occasionally to look up to you, Leo. Most Blessed Father. And to think of you. Indeed, since you are occasionally regarded as a sole cause of my warfare, I cannot help thinking of you. To be sure, the undeserved raging of your godless flatterers against me has compelled me to appeal from your sea to a future council. Despite the decrees of your predecessors, Pius and Joseph. You see what he's doing here. So he's giving credit to Leo. Whereas the previous popes have said, We're not going to have a council. We're just not going there. He is as much as saying. Leo, I know that you think better of this. You realize that there are abuses in the church that need to be redressed. And so I you know, I'm fully convinced that that you're going to be willing to call. Well, of course. Leo The 10th had no intentions of calling it a council and never did. This was the pope, remember, that was more interested in hunting boars than he was in doing church work. But you see, there is a there's an attempt at conciliation. Luther had been asked by militants, a leader in the Augustinian order, if he would give it one more try, write a conciliatory letter and send it to Leo the 10th to see if we can't avert the increasing storm of attention that's being directed your way. So Luther gets it, gives it his best. And he calls the pope most excellent. Leo. And he appeals to him and indicates that he has true deference to him and is actually hoping that that abuses in the church will be removed.

[00:22:49] And so he makes this kind of appeal to Leo in an attempt to extend the olive branch, as it were, so that the opposition that is building can be dissipated. Breath. I haven't read enough Luther yet to know if that's something that is typical of his writings that are addressed to like Erasmus, for instance. Would he treat Erasmus in a similar conciliatory way? If yeah, and we'll get to the bondage of the will later on in the semester and you'll find that there is different. There's all kinds of differential language, inappropriate places. However, particularly in bondage to the will, you'll find that Luther's criticisms of Erasmus are absolutely scathing. So one thing that perhaps might be helpful to keep in mind is that this is an age of hierarchy, a hierarchy that we here in the United States know nothing of. So by virtue of the fact that someone holds an office, they are granted deference. And it's precisely in this manner that Luther is writing to Leo the 10th. He keeps his personal opinions about Leo to himself, but he appeals to Leo as the holder of the office. One of the things that you'll find in Luther's writings is there is quite often a difference between the person and the office, for example. Let me just give you a real clear example of this issue. Luther will say that it is possible for an executioner to be a Christian. How can that be? Given the fact that an executioner kills people, thus might be subject to what one would say are accusations of murder? I mean, you're taking a life. How can you do this to good Christians conscience? Luther will say there's a difference between the person and the office. This individual is carrying out the office of executioner, which is a legitimate wing of the power of the sword, which God has given to temporal government.

[00:25:02] And the person who might be a father and have a wife and three kids and all that kind of stuff and has his own private life. So he would say there's a difference between the office and what this what this person does carrying out his office and what this person does as a private citizen. So in the case of Pope Leo the 10th, he's giving deference all over the place. Erasmus he gives deference to and claims that Erasmus is a much finer a writer than he is and has much greater gifts and abilities. But yet later on, in the bondage of the word treatise, he'll say, Erasmus, you don't know anything about theology, so stick with the literature and let us theologians handle the theological issues. It's clear that you've made a mess of things. So good point. Other questions. Okay. So there's an attempt at conciliation at this at the very beginning of this treatise. And one would have to say also that the tone of this treatise, the freedom of a Christian, is decidedly different than the either to Babylonian captivity or the address to the German nobility in both of those other treatises. There is a there's a mind at work, there's a grinding criticism, and there is quite pointed argumentation. What we find in the freedom of a Christian is really much different, isn't it? There is there's a sense in which this really is a devotional piece which is directed to the common people and is one must take it at face value. He makes spiritual comments, devotional comments. He talks about the the question of what makes a person a Christian and moves forward with that that kind of interest, with an openness that is not marked by the kind of polemic that you find in these other treatises.

[00:27:11] So there really is a very different kind of tone in this writing. I've asked myself now, now what what genre of writing is this? And I want to suggest to you that there are probably all kinds of examples of similar literature. You must remember that Germany, right around 1500, was deeply religious all through society. One found religious expression of one sort or another. Of course, we talked about pilgrimages and relics. We talked about the cult of the saints, and all kinds of religious practices were centered around the deep piety of the time. I can't help but think that perhaps Augustine's and Caribbean stands behind Luther's writing here. There's no evidence of it. I'm not trying to make a case, academically speaking, but it seems to me that Augustine's and Caribbean is an example of this genre of literature. Augustine, as you know, was the most important church father that was discussed in the Middle Ages. And Augustine wrote a handbook. That's the title title in Caribbean on Faith, Hope and Love. There was a young man that Augustine knew. His name was Lawrence, who was quite a good student and had asked Augustine to write him a little something that he might have a book nearby that would help him with things religious. So Augustine sets forth his and Caribbean, and he discusses faith, hope and love as the epitome of the Christian life. And he says in this treatise, Behold, piety is wisdom. And then he refers to the fact that really what we are about is the service of God. Man. Service of God is the source of human wisdom. And so Augustine sets out to give a brief summary or a short treatise on the proper mode of worshiping God. And he does so under this three fold rubric of faith, hope and love.

[00:29:37] Now, it's interesting, as in the Augustinian neo platonic thought, one's journey or sojourn in faith begins with faith. One begins with faith, and that begins to penetrate the soul, he says. And then finally, it changes into sight so that the holy and perfect in heart catch glimpses of that ineffable beauty whose full vision is our highest happiness. I don't know if you've ever heard of it, but the beatific vision comes out of this neo platonic understanding. You begin with faith. As faith grows in you, then you will kind of finally move into vision or sight. And you'll find this in many authors. You really don't find it very much at all in Luther, though, which is an interesting little note. Augustinian, though he was he did not move in that direction. So Augustine says you've asked for an ingredient, something you could carry around, not just baggage, for your bookshelf. Therefore, we may return to these three ways in which, as we said, God should be served. Faith, hope and love. Well, this ironic kind of piece seems to me, is precisely the kind of thing that Luther's after. Also, there's a little piece called The Theology Deutsche or the trilogy Germanicus. This was written in the late 14th century, and Luther was really quite fond of this handbook. He ran across a copy of it and had that edition published. And one of the things he says about this book. He says that this book approaches theology not in the high language of scholasticism, but it uses simple German language. It uses unadorned and unassuming words. And one of the things that Luther likes about this book, it's full of wisdom, and yet it's not at all pretentious. Just a quick note here. This, it seems to me, aligns itself nicely with the monastic ideal, namely that wisdom is always an experiential wisdom.

[00:32:04] Wisdom is not something which which is synonymous with high human learning, but rather it is the kind of learning that Paul talks about, where he says that my theology is mere foolishness to those around me. So Luther's really quite fond of this trilogy at Deutsche. He urges people to read it. And he says that let anyone who wishes read this little book and then let him say whether theology is original with us or ancient for this book is certainly not new. But some may say, as in the past, that we are German theologians. We shall let that stand. I thank God that I hear and find my God in the German tongue, whereas I and they with me previously did not find him either in the Latin, the Greek or the Hebrew tongue. God grant that this little book will become better known. Then we shall find that German theologians are, without a doubt the best theologians in. So he likes this little piece and it's very interesting. And when you turn the pages, just to give it a quick look over without trying to, you know, penetrate all of the philosophy and stuff that might be associated with it. The author of this tale, Ogier Germanicus, begins by talking about Christ, and the sole says, Let us remember how it is written and said that the soul of Christ had two eyes a right and a left eye. In the beginning, when the soul of Christ was created, she fixed her right eye upon eternity in the Godhead and remained in perfect enjoyment and intuition of the divine essence and eternal perfection, immovable and continued, thus unmoved and undisturbed, etc., etc.. But with her left eye, she be held the creature and perceived all things therein, and took note of the difference between the creatures which were better or worse, nobler or meaner, and thereafter was the outward man of Christ ordered.

[00:34:19] Very interesting, isn't it? Here in the Tale of Trauma, Annika is talking about the inward and the outward man, something we find in Luther's treatise, the freedom of a Christian. It would be a very interesting study just to see how this relates with that of Luther's treatise. There are very significant differences in the tale. Theological Germanic. There are three steps that the author is interested in purification, enlightenment, and finally, union with God. This is not exactly the track that Luther takes off on, but nonetheless, it seems to me that this kind of handbook state what Luther is attempting in his freedom of a Christian. Okay. Finally, we come now to to the actual document, the freedom of a Christian. And one of the interesting things that need to be needs to be said at the outset. Is that. Luther understands this piece to be a handbook in which the entire sum of the Christian life is contained in your Llull edition on page 595. At the end of the letter to Leo. In speaking about his treatise, it says it contains the whole of Christian life in a brief form, provided you grasp its meaning. I am a poor man and have no other gift to offer, and you do not need to be enriched by any but a spiritual gift. Maybe there's a small little dig that one could see standing behind that, although it's not really there. May the Lord Jesus preserve you forever. So this is a handbook which contains the Christian life in a brief form. And Luther pursues this. Now, let's take a quick peek at an outline of this piece. The freedom of a Christian. The treatise begins in a singular manner. He says this to make the way smoother for the unlearn it for only them do I serve.

[00:36:56] And just a quick note here. This also is precisely what the GEA draw Monica does. It addresses the common person. Luther here says he has no interest. It's only the unlearn it that he serves. Well, maybe. Maybe there's something else going on here, too, because Luther writes this in Latin and he does so to present it as a gift to Leo the 10th. So clearly, in that sense, it's it's written for other theologians, and yet it's a devotional piece which really is quite down to earth and wonderful, as you know, as it presents itself. So. Clearly this was, however, a piece that came into the hands of the common people. There were no less than 170 different printings of the freedom of Christian, most all of them in German, German of the late. Now, this treatise begins in a striking manner. He says, I shall sit down the following two propositions Considering the freedom and the bondage of the spirit. A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all. Subject to all. These two theses seem to contradict each other. If, however, they should be found to fit together, they would serve our purpose beautifully. And then Luther cites some scripture coming out of First Corinthians nine, Romans 13, Galatians four, and Philippians two. And in those passages of scripture, he talks about men and women in their twofold nature, a spiritual nature and a bodily one or an inner and an outer one. And he raises this distinction because he sees it as a distinction which Scripture itself sets out. Galatians 517 says The desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh.

[00:39:18] And there's this opposition once again. You know, we we read in Romans chapter seven how the One Eye of Paul contains within it the conflict. Paul wants to fulfill the law, and yet he finds that there's another rule of there's another law that is in operation in his members. So he begins with this distinction. Now, then the entire treatise then is set out in two pieces. The first talks about the inner man, free lord of all, subject to none. And the second part, which deals with the ottoman, the dutiful servant of all. We could say that really in some ways. In the matter of ethics. Aristotle begins by saying ethics is determined by what we do. But what Luther does here is he wants to take a step further back and he says, What makes us who we are, what makes us who we are. And it's from that that he proceeds. And so it is that he asked this question What makes one a Christian? And there is one answer to this. It is the word which causes a person to become related to God, to become a Christian. It's not what we do. It's not our contemplation, our meditation. It's not what the soul can do. Those things do not help. Luther asserts one thing and one thing only is necessary for Christian life, righteousness and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the Gospel of Christ. As Christ Himself says in John 11, I am the resurrection and the life He who believes in me, though he die yet shall he live? And again. And John. So if the sun makes you free, you will be free. Indeed. And Matthew, for man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

[00:41:41] And so he establishes that the soul. It may do anything that it wants to, but without the word. It cannot be Christian. It cannot be turned toward God. So there's a real sense in which Luther begins his treatise by talking about what makes a Christian, what makes us who we are. He says there's nothing more terrible than a famine of the hearing of his word. Now that on page 598 in your law, it's interesting then that this flows into how he understands the task of preaching to coach that interesting little passage here. He says To preach Christ means to feed the soul, make it righteous, set it free and save it, provided it believes the preaching Faith is the saving and efficacious use of the word of God, according to Romans ten. So here we have what makes a Christian. It is the word he moves on to ask the question, Well, now, what effects does Faith have? What proceeds from faith? And there are at least two, three issues that Luther talks about he says faith alone justifies. This faith can rule only in the inner man, as Roman ten says, for a man believes with his heart and so is justified. And since faith alone justifies, it is clear that the inner man cannot be justified, freed or saved by any outer work or action at all. And that these works, whatever their character, have nothing to do with this inner man. On the other hand, only on godliness and unbelief of heart and no outer work made it make him guilty and a damnable servant of sin. So Luther sets forward this first proposition that faith alone justifies. The second thing that happens in faith. Is that faith honors him whom it trusts.

[00:44:04] On page 602 of the lull edition, you have this point coming through the second power of faith. As Luther describes it, is that it honors him whom it trusts with the most reverent and highest regard since it considers him truthful and trustworthy. Worthy. Perhaps one of the things you've heard about Luther is that he likes to say, Let God be God. And it's precisely the sin problem that causes us to want to change the signs regarding God and for us to say, Well, now you stay in your corner. Thank you very much. I'd like to take things in my own hands. And so here, when he says that faith allows us to see that God is truthful. This is a significant power of faith into a particular kind of relationship with God. It allows God to be truthful, even though every man is a liar. And so there's a tremendous opposition, a qualitative difference that we can see between the almighty God and the creation and creatures within the creation. God is true. We are the ones who are liars. So we are the ones who need to change our thinking according to the truth claims that God might set out for us in Scripture. The Third Power of Faith. Page 603. And the Freedom of a Christian here. The third incomparable benefit of faith is that it unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom by this mystery. As the Apostle teaches Christ in the soul, become one flesh. And this is an interesting formulation, don't you think? Faith unites the soul with Christ. Hmm. Union sounds familiar. This is also something which one finds in the tale. Ogiek or Manica. This was an ideal in German mysticism that the human soul would become united with the divine reality.

[00:46:19] And so there is a certain kind of, as I said, in German, a forgotten or a deification, as it were. We participate in his life even as he comes and participates in our life. So this is a very interesting kind of concept to notice how Luther deals with this. He says the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own. And whatever the soul has, Christ claims as his own. Let us compare these and we shall see. Inestimable gifts. Christ is full of grace, life and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death and damnation. And now let faith come between them and sins. Death and damnation will be Christ's while grace, life and salvation will be the souls for us cry For if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are His brides, and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that he is? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers? So there's a very interesting transaction that takes place here. There's a faith, as he says later on, is the wedding ring that joins Christ in the soul. It's a beautiful image. Okay. One thing that we should say before we move off this particular point is that there is this this uniting of the soul with Christ. This glad this happy exchange is referred to in German as the foolish of exile, the happy exchange. It it is that moment in which Christ gives us of His righteousness, and we give him our sinfulness. So this is what they call the happy exchange.

[00:48:19] And this is one of the themes which comes out in Luther's writings. Time and time again, it is when the atonement is made actual, you know, it's possible to talk about the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. He's one salvation for all mankind. And yet when Luther speaks of it in this way, he's talking about how atonement comes to the particular believer in actual in time, in faith. And so this is what he is known as, the happy exchange. Now, then, once the soul unites with Christ, we are found in Christ. Then there are certain prerogatives that we are granted. We become kings, even as Christ is king. So we are granted that every Christian is by faith, so exalted above all things that by virtue of the spiritual power, he is Lord of all things without exception, so that nothing can do him any harm. As a matter of fact, all things are made subject to him and are compelled to serve him in obtaining salvation. This interesting way of putting it for Luther, then, just very practically speaking, if as a Christian you come into a situation where you are suffering, say your finances go south on you say there is terrible trouble in your family life, say even. And that extreme moment when you must face death, death itself finally must serve you and your salvation. It's an interesting concept. How does that happen? How can it be? The death could ever be a good thing. After all, the Apostle Paul says death is the last enemy. Death is not a friend. It's an enemy. So how could this be a good thing? What Luther will say is this. Look, all of us must pass through death. Not even Christians must or are allowed to escape that.

[00:50:25] But you see, death, if one faces it apart from faith, can drive one to despair or even to blasphemy. But for the believer, the death will finally put to an end the sinful actions of the life that we have here in this world. So in that way, it will ultimately even serve our salvation. So we are kings. Secondly, we're also priests forever. We have the glad and happy task of presenting the gospel to others, encouraging others, and informing them of what Christ has done for them. So we also, after Christ become priest. Luther here is setting forward the priesthood of all believers. You said it. You said that forth very forcefully in the address of the Christian nobility. And this is a theme which the peasants picked up and we find reflected back in 1525 through the peasants. But we are all priests. This in opposition to the idea that there is a secular estate and there's a spiritual estate. Only the priests are priests, only they do priestly functions. But Luther's here saying no. If your soul has been united with Christ, now you too have a priestly function so that if you are a wife serving in your family, in whatever function that is good and godly work, and now you are a conduit, as it were, of the grace of God, as we live out our lives in this world in like manner. If you're a husband serving in your family, the functions that you have with respect to your children in your wife, that is spiritual work and you should carry it out as unto the Lord. We find then that on page 610, in the Llull edition, we move to the second part of this treatise where he talks about the Ottoman.

[00:52:33] Here we shall answer all those who offended by the word faith and by all that has been said. Now ask if faith does all things and is alone sufficient in the righteousness. Why then are good works commanded? We will take our ease and don't and do no works and be content with faith. I answer. Not so, you wicked men. Not so. That would indeed be proper if we were wholly inner and perfectly spiritual man. But such we shall be only at the last day, the day of the resurrection of the dead. Interesting the way he puts it here, isn't it? There is a simultaneous to life. We are simultaneously saints, fully righteous, united with Christ. We are priests. We are kings. We have all the benefits granted unto us and the righteousness of Christ. So much so that we can say that His living, doing and dying are my living, doing and dying. And yet at the same time we must recognize that we are sinners and we do not live up to the full ideal of what it is that the inner life should do. So Luther is giving here a very interesting definition of the inner and outer. It's not so simple. You can't just say that internally I'm all these things and externally I'm all those things. So there's a subtle thing that goes on here with Luther's inner and outer man. Our outer activity sometimes is characterized by the righteousness of the inner man. When we give a cup of cold water in the name of Christ, we're doing a good and righteous action. And that's done with the outer body, with the outer man. But when he talks about this, this distinction, what he's saying is there's simultaneity of both of these realities.

[00:54:29] We are already grasped by the saving work of Christ, and yet we are not yet fully glorified. And so now then he comes to talk about the place of works. If works, don't define our being as Christians, then why should we do any works? That's that's the question that's being raised. By faith. The Christian is made to love God. Therefore, one cannot remain idle. That is the response that Luther gives. Well, if you are found in Christ, then you will be found to be doing good works. That's simply the nature of faith. It's not that we have to teach faith how to do this. It's that it is the very nature of faith to be hard at work in this activity. By faith, the Christian is made to love God. Therefore, he cannot remain idle. Luther talks about works. They have a couple of functions. First of all, they reduce the body to subjection and purified of its evil lusts. And here, you know, you have the 16th century mindset kind of rattling around. This might sound a little odd to us in the 21st century. It's probably not the kind of piety that you hear preached on a Sunday morning in your church. Find works to subject your body. I haven't heard a sermon on that too often, not recently. But here Luther's talking about fasting. He's talking about watches in the middle of the night as a monk. Those are things that he all practice. He practiced all this. They also slept in small cells without heating. And during the winter, it can get cold in Germany. And, you know, putting scratchy woolen cloth clothing up next against the body to remind us that the life that we live now is not the only life, but that we in some ways are preparing ourselves for the life to come.

[00:56:29] A second use for works is to express the spontaneous love in obedience to God. And here we consider nothing except the approval of God. We don't do works because they merit us something, but we do them simply in order to find ourselves approved by God. Workmen that he says good work too. Okay, now there are a couple of interesting examples of works and the relationship. Notice, first of all, the works of Adam and Eve. This is found on page six or 12 in your law. We should think of the works of a Christian who is justified and saved by faith because of the pure and free mercy of God. Just as we would think of the works which Adam and Eve did in Paradise and all their children would have done if they had not sin, the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to kill it and keep it. Now, Adam was created righteous and upright without any sin by God, so that he had no need of being justified and being made upright through his tilling and keeping the garden, but that he might not be idle. The Lord gave him a task to do to cultivate and protect the garden. This task would truly have been the freest of works done only to please God and not to obtain righteousness which Adam already had in full measure, and which would have been the birthright of all of us. Secondly, he gives the example of a bishop. Bishop goes around blessing or consecrating churches, confirming children, doing other duties. But as he does these works, that's not what makes him a bishop. He was already a bishop before he did these works. And so Luther is indicating that the Christian is made so by the Word of God, and it's out of that reality.

[00:58:25] That one then is moved. So that one might say this the human being actually is in transition from one thing to another, and that is what characterizes us as Christians. We are on the way. He uses the example that we've used over and over again. A good tree produces good fruit. Now, then this gives us a platform from which to interpret works. Page 615 of the Law. From this, it's easy to know how far good works are to be rejected or not, and by what standard all the teachings of men concerning works are. They are to be interpreted. If works are sought after as a means to righteousness, are burdened with this perverse leviathan and are done under the false impression that through them one is justified, they are made necessary and freedom and faith are destroyed. So what Luther is saying is, look, works are to be done in the freedom of our life of faith and not to be understood as the way that we gain righteousness. Our works are done not for ourselves, but for the neighbor. 616 and lall the bottom of the page. Let this suffice concerning works in general and at the same time concerning the works which a Christian does for himself. Lastly, we shall also speak of the things which he does toward his neighbor. A man does not live for himself alone in this mortal body to work for it alone. But he lives also for all men on earth. Rather, he lives only for others and not for himself. And this is an interesting way of putting the matter, isn't it? So this gives you an outline of this document, the freedom of a Christian. In it, Luther sets forward his understanding of what causes a person to be a Christian.

[01:00:20] And the relationship between the inner life of freedom and the outer life in which we are a servant to all. And it seems to me that this is a this is a wonderful treatise that really is one that is a marvelous example of Luther's evangelical theology, setting forward the freedom that we have in faith and how that eventuates in work toward and we have faith toward God. We have works to help serve our neighbor.