Martin Luther - Lesson 10

Justification by Faith

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

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 10
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Justification by Faith

Justification by Faith

Luther, the Pastor: On Gal 2:19b


I. The Medieval Traditions

A. The Mystics - Did not use language of justification

1. Neoplatonic - One needed to climb Jacobs ladder to get to God. At the top one would find the great cloud of unknowing.

2. Romance - Christ the lover. Urging the Christian into a complete and total love of God

3. German - Divine seed planted into the Christian. One grows into divine union with Christ. No preparation for receiving God's grace.

B. Thomism- Thomas Aquinas - Movement from starting point to end point with the following 4 experiences:

1. the infusion of grace

2. the movement of the free will toward God in faith.

3. movement of the free will in recoil from sin

4. remission of guilt

C. Nominalism - Gabriel Biel

Do that which is in you and God will complete the process


II. Luther on Justification

A. Luther's doctrine on justification is directly related to Paul's

(Romans 4:17) - Primary importance

B. Alien Righteousness - Abraham

Once received transforms being, therefore not cheap grace only.

C. Non-imputation of sins/Imputation of righteousness

D. Justification is received in the form of faith/with faith.

1. Christ is not only the object of faith but himself present in faith.

2. Unconditional promise of the gospel is not an if... then... statement but is a because... therefore.... When preaching this you will face opposition. This is an offense of the 'old Adam.'

3. Death to sin language. Death and resurrection not only allegorical but actual experience. When God kills, faith in life is lived by death.

4. Paul: Should we sin therefore so that grace can abound? No, how can we who have died to sin live in it.


III. Justification Today - Ecumenical Climate

A. Signing of the Concordat by both the Lutheran and Catholic Churches

B. Finnish Theologians- St. Paul/Minneapolis Conference

All Lessons
  • Introduction to the life and theology of Martin Luther.

  • 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.