Your Moment of Reformation: Seven Important Things Martin Luther Said, And What They Meant

“Seven Important Things Martin Luther Said, And What They Meant”  (Excerpted from The Lutheran Handbook, AugsburgFortress, 2005).

1.    “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent’ he called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” (Ninety-Five Theses, 1517)

Luther meant that faith and its Christly acts of love and service are never to be separated from real life. Faith isn’t just a hobby, it’s an entire way of life!

2.    “The Law says ‘do this,’ it’s never done. Grace says ‘believe in this,’ and everything is already done.” (Heidelberg Disputation, 1518)

This statement highlights how important Martin Luther believed it to be that Christians understand the difference between God’s law and gospel. A life free to serve others begins with this. No matter how well you keep the law, only the free gift of the gospel can save you.

3.     “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”  (Freedom of a Christian, 1520)

By this, Luther meant that Jesus Christ is a Christian’s only Lord—a Lord who commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

4.    “I am bound by the scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot, and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. May God help me, Amen!”  (Speech at the Diet of Worms, April 21, 1521)

With this bold and defiant statement, Martin Luther drew a line in the sand and started an age of reformation for the Christian church.

5.    “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world!” (Letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521)

Jesus came to save sinners. There’s no point in denying you’re a sinner. But more importantly, knowing you’re a sinner will bring you closer to Jesus Christ, the one person who can save you from sin and death

6.    “This is most certainly true.”  (Small Catechism, 1529)

The freedom God declares through Jesus Christ can be fully believed and should not be doubted. Luther wanted the word “Amen” to be spoken with complete confidence.

7.    “It’s true. We’re beggars.” (Luther’s last written words, February 16, 1546)

This is Luther’s final testimony to humankind’s total dependence on the grace and mercy of God and to life’s character as an absolute gift.