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A Treatise on Good Works   By: (1483-1546)

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A Treatise on Good Works by Martin Luther is a thought-provoking and insightful book that delves deep into the concept of good works. Unlike many religious texts that focus solely on faith and belief, Luther's treatise sheds light on the importance of actions in the life of a Christian.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is Luther's unwavering conviction in the power of faith as the foundation for good works. He emphasizes that true righteousness and salvation can only be achieved through faith in Jesus Christ. Luther argues that good works, on their own, are insufficient for salvation and cannot earn God's favor. Rather, they should flow naturally from a genuine faith, serving as a testimony of one's relationship with God.

Throughout the treatise, Luther dissects various misconceptions regarding good works. He clarifies that good works are different from acts of self-righteousness or attempts to impress others. In Luther's view, good works should be a spontaneous overflow of love and gratitude towards God, rather than a means of gaining recognition or fulfilling religious obligations.

Luther also tackles the prevalent notion of indulgences, which were commonly sold by the Catholic Church during his time. He vehemently opposes the idea that indulgences could pardon sins or outweigh the significance of repentance. Instead, he affirms that the forgiveness of sins is attained solely through faith, and good works serve as an expression of gratitude for that divine forgiveness.

Furthermore, Luther emphasizes the importance of social responsibility and serving others. He urges Christians to use their God-given talents and resources to help their fellow human beings, particularly the poor and marginalized. Luther believes that acts of charity and compassion are not only good works in themselves but also inspire others to embrace their faith and experience the love of God.

Despite its age, A Treatise on Good Works remains highly relevant in today's world. Luther's teachings challenge readers to critically examine their beliefs and motivations behind their actions. It serves as a reminder that performing good works without genuine faith is meaningless, emphasizing the importance of spiritual introspection and a personal relationship with God.

In conclusion, A Treatise on Good Works by Martin Luther is a significant and illuminating read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the role of good works in Christian faith. Luther's profound insights and clear arguments make this treatise a timeless piece of literature that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.

First Page:

A Treatise on Good Works

together with the Letter of Dedication

by Dr. Martin Luther, 1520


1. The Occasion of the Work. Luther did not impose himself as reformer upon the Church. In the course of a conscientious performance of the duties of his office, to which he had been regularly and divinely called, and without any urging on his part, he attained to this position by inward necessity. In 1515 he received his appointment as the standing substitute for the sickly city pastor, Simon Heinse, from the city council of Wittenberg. Before this time he was obliged to preach only occasionally in the convent, apart from his activity as teacher in the University and convent. Through this appointment he was in duty bound, by divine and human right, to lead and direct the congregation at Wittenberg on the true way to life, and it would have been a denial of the knowledge of salvation which God had led him to acquire, by way of ardent inner struggles, if he had led the congregation on any other way than the one God had revealed to him in His Word. He could not deny before the congregation which had been intrusted to his care, what up to this time he had taught with ever increasing clearness in his lectures at the University for in the lectures on the Psalms, which he began to deliver in 1513, he declares his conviction that faith alone justifies, as can be seen from the complete manuscript, published since 1885, and with still greater clearness from his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1515 1516), which is accessible since 1908; nor what he had urged as spiritual adviser of his convent brethren when in deep distress compare the charming letter to Georg Spenlein, dated April 8, 1516... Continue reading book >>

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