Martin Luther (1483–1546) was a German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of both the Lutheran and Protestant traditions. Luther’s contributions to Western civilization went beyond the life of the Christian Church. Luther’s translations of the Bible helped to develop a standard version of the German language and added several principles to the art of translation. Luther’s hymns inspired the development of congregational singing in Christianity. His marriage to Katharina von Bora began a movement of clerical marriage within many Christian traditions.
Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.
BY MARTIN LUTHER
What is repentance in His name? Hereby he singles out the repentance that is not made in His name, and therefore the text compels us to consider two kinds of repentance. First, a repentance not in His name is, when I come with my own works and undertake to blot out sin with them; as we all have been taught and have tried to do.
Paul does not say that Christ was made a curse for Himself. The accent is on the two words “for us.” Christ is personally innocent. Personally, He did not deserve to be hanged for any crime of His own doing. But because Christ took the place of others who were sinners, He was hanged like any other transgressor.
BY MARTIN LUTHER
I have often stated above and elsewhere that it pleases me greatly and is salutary for us to hear of the weaknesses of the saints, for these examples of weakness are more necessary for us and bring more consolation than the examples of that heroic and very great fortitude and other virtues.
The youth under a tutor follows not his own will; but, from fear of the rod, his master’s will. While under control of his master, his real character cannot be detected. Were he free, his true self would be apparent, for he would manifest his natural disposition and his works would be his own.
There is a brief passage in Psalm 55:22 which reads: “Cast your burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain you: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Follow this advice. Let not your burden rest upon yourselves; for you cannot bear it, and must finally perish beneath its weight. But, confident and full of joy, cast it from you and throw it on God.
BY MARTIN LUTHER
No Christian can boast that his own efforts have made him a member of Christ, with other Christians, in the common faith. Nor can he by any work constitute himself a Christian. He performs good works by virtue of having become a Christian, in the new birth, through faith, regardless of any merit of his own.
“A little while,” he says, “and you behold me no more,” for I shall be taken prisoner and they shall deliver me to death. But it will not last long, and during this short time you shall be sorrowful, but only remain steadfast in me and follow me. It will soon have an end.
Since there exist in the heart these two things- a consciousness of sin and a perception of God's chastisement, the heart must ever be depressed, faint, even terrified. It must be the just and the righteous who are to rejoice in the Lord. First we must be liberated from our sins and perceive a merciful God.