Luther and Works – the real story!
Thoughts which drive me to the Cross, and to Jesus!
7 The people of Israel who survive will be like refreshing dew sent by the LORD for many nations, like showers on growing plants. They will depend on God, not human beings. Micah 5:6 GNT
What can be more acceptable to God and advantageous to man than a life lived, in its own calling, in the way that contributes to the honor of God, and that by its example influences others to love God’s Word and to praise his name? Therefore, influence men by your godly walk and good works to believe in Christ and to glorify him.
821 Work with humility. I mean, count first on God’s blessings, which will not fail you. Then, on your good desires, on your work plans—and on your difficulties! Do not forget that among those difficulties you must always include your own lack of holiness. You will be a good instrument if every day you struggle to be better.
Every once in a while people tell me that Luther was against works-that he didn’t beleive anything but faith was needed to be a Christian. The people that tell me this are in two camps.
1. Catholics who want to accuse Luther of heresy – and if they were accurate in their allegation – they would be right!
2. Protestants and Lutherans who understand that we are saved by grace without works, but leave it there, as if they don’t need to respond, or to let the Holy Spirit transform them. They don’t want to bother with the sacrifice and pains of growing to be like Christ, and often fear loving their neighbor (nevermind their enemy) And they reduce our relationship with God to saying a pray, or being baptized…
Article VI of the Augsburg Confession and quotes like the blue one above should convince both groups otherwise, but I’ve found people in groups 1 and 2 can be pretty stubborn!
In my devotional reading this morning Micah points out the great blessing the people of God will be to all nations, There is no “if” or “Maybe” or even “except”. In the New Covenant, that means all who’ve been drawn to depend on Jesus for His promised eternal life, freed from sin, dwelling with the Holy Spirit–these will bless everyone, as they are used by God to rescue others.
Both Martin Luther and St. Josemaria agree on what this means – that right where we are, doing what we do, In our own calling, is a special place where we see God’s holiness poured out upon us. A Friend of mine walks 2 miles a day, three of the epoepl on those journeys have made our church their home. Another person in my church uses lunches and buyin things at thrift shops as part of how she (often without knowing) is ministering to people through what she does. Another does it in her teaching, another in caring for the physical building at church–greeting everyone that walks by with a smile.
All these things are evangelism – all are ministry-all are life lived in the Spirit, following God’s lead, as they realize He is with them.
God is with them, and amazing small things happen.. But it all starts with him, and walking with Him. Everything else is but a reaction to that, found in their daily life.
Even so, as I see it, I praise God!
Martin Luther and John Sander, Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year (Rock Island, IL: Augustana Book Concern, 1915), 375.
Escrivá, Josemaría. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.