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Concerning Christian Liberty

Concerning Christian Liberty

Concerning Christian Liberty


Martin Luther

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Concerning Christian Liberty

CONTENTS

LETTER OF MARTIN LUTHER TO POPE LEO X CONCERNIN! CHRI"TIAN LI#ERT$

Concerning Christian Liberty

LETTER OF MARTIN LUTHER TO POPE LEO X. A&ong those &onstro's e(i)s o* this age +ith +hich I ha(e no+ *or three years been +aging +ar, I a& so&eti&es co&-e))e. to )oo/ to yo' an. to ca)) yo' to &in., &ost b)esse. *ather Leo In tr'th, since yo' a)one are e(ery+here consi.ere. as being the ca'se o* &y engaging in +ar, I cannot at any ti&e *ai) to re&e&ber yo'0 an. a)tho'gh I ha(e been co&-e))e. by the ca'se)ess raging o* yo'r i&-io's *)atterers against &e to a--ea) *ro& yo'r seat to a *'t're co'nci)1*ear)ess o* the *'ti)e .ecrees o* yo'r -re.ecessors Pi's an. 2')i's, +ho in their *oo)ish tyranny -rohibite. s'ch an action1yet I ha(e ne(er been so a)ienate. in *ee)ing *ro& yo'r #)esse.ness as not to ha(e so'ght +ith a)) &y &ight, in .i)igent -rayer an. crying to !o., a)) the best gi*ts *or yo' an. *or yo'r see #'t those +ho ha(e hitherto en.ea(o're. to terri*y &e +ith the &a3esty o* yo'r na&e an. a'thority, I ha(e beg'n 4'ite to .es-ise an. tri'&-h o(er One thing I see re&aining +hich I cannot .es-ise, an. this has been the reason o* &y +riting ane+ to yo'r #)esse.ness5 na&e)y, that I *in. that b)a&e is cast on &e, an. that it is i&-'te. to &e as a great o**ence, that in &y rashness I a& 3'.ge. to ha(e s-are. not e(en yo'r -erson No+, to con*ess the tr'th o-en)y, I a& conscio's that, +hene(er I ha(e ha. to &ention yo'r -erson, I ha(e sai. nothing o* yo' b't +hat +as hono'rab)e an. goo. I* I ha. .one other+ise, I co'). by no &eans ha(e a--ro(e. &y o+n con.'ct, b't sho'). ha(e s'--orte. +ith a)) &y -o+er the 3'.g&ent o* those &en concerning &e, nor +o'). anything ha(e -)ease. &e better,
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Concerning Christian Liberty

than to recant s'ch rashness an. i&-iety I ha(e ca))e. yo' 7anie) in #aby)on0 an. e(ery rea.er thoro'gh)y /no+s +ith +hat .isting'ishe. 8ea) I .e*en.e. yo'r cons-ic'o's innocence against "i)(ester, +ho trie. to stain it In.ee., the -'b)ishe. o-inion o* so &any great &en an. the re-'te o* yo'r b)a&e)ess )i*e are too +i.e)y *a&e. an. too &'ch re(erence. thro'gho't the +or). to be assai)ab)e by any &an, o* ho+e(er great na&e, or by any arts I a& not so *oo)ish as to attac/ one +ho& e(erybo.y -raises0 nay, it has been an. a)+ays +i)) be &y .esire not to attac/ e(en those +ho& -'b)ic re-'te .isgraces I a& not .e)ighte. at the *a')ts o* any &an, since I a& (ery conscio's &yse)* o* the great bea& in &y o+n eye, nor can I be the *irst to cast a stone at the a.')teress I ha(e in.ee. in(eighe. shar-)y against i&-io's .octrines, an. I ha(e not been s)ac/ to cens're &y a.(ersaries on acco'nt, not o* their ba. &ora)s, b't o* their i&-iety An. *or this I a& so *ar *ro& being sorry that I ha(e bro'ght &y &in. to .es-ise the 3'.g&ents o* &en an. to -erse(ere in this (ehe&ent 8ea), accor.ing to the e9a&-)e o* Christ, +ho, in His 8ea), ca))s His a.(ersaries a generation o* (i-ers, b)in., hy-ocrites, an. chi).ren o* the .e(i) Pa'), too, charges the sorcerer +ith being a chi). o* the .e(i), *')) o* a)) s'bt)ety an. a)) &a)ice0 an. .e*a&es certain -ersons as e(i) +or/ers, .ogs, an. .ecei(ers In the o-inion o* those .e)icate:eare. -ersons, nothing co'). be &ore bitter or inte&-erate than Pa');s )ang'age <hat can be &ore bitter than the +or.s o* the -ro-hets= The ears o* o'r generation ha(e been &a.e so .e)icate by the sense)ess &')tit'.e o* *)atterers that, as soon as +e -ercei(e that anything o* o'rs is not a--ro(e. o*, +e cry o't that +e are being bitter)y assai)e.0 an. +hen +e can re-e) the tr'th by no other -retence, +e esca-e by attrib'ting bitterness, i&-atience, inte&-erance,
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Concerning Christian Liberty

to o'r a.(ersaries <hat +o'). be the 'se o* sa)t i* it +ere not -'ngent, or o* the e.ge o* the s+or. i* it .i. not s)ay= Acc'rse. is the &an +ho .oes the +or/ o* the Lor. .eceit*'))y <here*ore, &ost e9ce))ent Leo, I beseech yo' to acce-t &y (in.ication, &a.e in this )etter, an. to -ers'a.e yo'rse)* that I ha(e ne(er tho'ght any e(i) concerning yo'r -erson0 *'rther, that I a& one +ho .esires that eterna) b)essing &ay *a)) to yo'r )ot, an. that I ha(e no .is-'te +ith any &an concerning &ora)s, b't on)y concerning the +or. o* tr'th In a)) other things I +i)) yie). to any one, b't I neither can nor +i)) *orsa/e an. .eny the +or. He +ho thin/s other+ise o* &e, or has ta/en in &y +or.s in another sense, .oes not thin/ right)y, an. has not ta/en in the tr'th $o'r see, ho+e(er, +hich is ca))e. the Co'rt o* Ro&e, an. +hich neither yo' nor any &an can .eny to be &ore corr'-t than any #aby)on or "o.o&, an. 4'ite, as I be)ie(e, o* a )ost, .es-erate, an. ho-e)ess i&-iety, this I ha(e (eri)y abo&inate., an. ha(e *e)t in.ignant that the -eo-)e o* Christ sho'). be cheate. 'n.er yo'r na&e an. the -rete9t o* the Ch'rch o* Ro&e0 an. so I ha(e resiste., an. +i)) resist, as )ong as the s-irit o* *aith sha)) )i(e in &e Not that I a& stri(ing a*ter i&-ossibi)ities, or ho-ing that by &y )abo'rs a)one, against the *'rio's o--osition o* so &any *)atterers, any goo. can be .one in that &ost .isor.ere. #aby)on0 b't that I *ee) &yse)* a .ebtor to &y brethren, an. a& bo'n. to ta/e tho'ght *or the&, that *e+er o* the& &ay be r'ine., or that their r'in &ay be )ess co&-)ete, by the -)ag'es o* Ro&e For &any years no+, nothing e)se has o(er*)o+e. *ro& Ro&e into the +or).1as yo' are not ignorant1 than the )aying +aste o* goo.s, o* bo.ies, an. o* so')s, an. the +orst e9a&-)es o* a)) the +orst things These things are c)earer than the )ight to a)) &en0 an. the
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Concerning Christian Liberty

Ch'rch o* Ro&e, *or&er)y the &ost ho)y o* a)) Ch'rches, has beco&e the &ost )a+)ess .en o* thie(es, the &ost sha&e)ess o* a)) brothe)s, the (ery /ing.o& o* sin, .eath, an. he))0 so that not e(en antichrist, i* he +ere to co&e, co'). .e(ise any a..ition to its +ic/e.ness Mean+hi)e yo', Leo, are sitting )i/e a )a&b in the &i.st o* +o)(es, )i/e 7anie) in the &i.st o* )ions, an., +ith E8e/ie), yo' .+e)) a&ong scor-ions <hat o--osition can yo' a)one &a/e to these &onstro's e(i)s= Ta/e to yo'rse)* three or *o'r o* the &ost )earne. an. best o* the car.ina)s <hat are these a&ong so &any= $o' +o'). a)) -erish by -oison be*ore yo' co'). 'n.erta/e to .eci.e on a re&e.y It is a)) o(er +ith the Co'rt o* Ro&e0 the +rath o* !o. has co&e '-on her to the 'tter&ost "he hates co'nci)s0 she .rea.s to be re*or&e.0 she cannot restrain the &a.ness o* her i&-iety0 she *i))s '- the sentence -asse. on her &other, o* +ho& it is sai., @<e +o'). ha(e hea)e. #aby)on, b't she is not hea)e.0 )et 's *orsa/e her A It ha. been yo'r .'ty an. that o* yo'r car.ina)s to a--)y a re&e.y to these e(i)s, b't this go't )a'ghs at the -hysician;s han., an. the chariot .oes not obey the reins Un.er the in*)'ence o* these *ee)ings, I ha(e a)+ays grie(e. that yo', &ost e9ce))ent Leo, +ho +ere +orthy o* a better age, ha(e been &a.e -onti** in this For the Ro&an Co'rt is not +orthy o* yo' an. those )i/e yo', b't o* "atan hi&se)*, +ho in tr'th is &ore the r')er in that #aby)on than yo' are Oh, +o'). that, ha(ing )ai. asi.e that g)ory +hich yo'r &ost aban.one. ene&ies .ec)are to be yo'rs, yo' +ere )i(ing rather in the o**ice o* a -ri(ate -riest or on yo'r -aterna) inheritanceB In that g)ory none are +orthy to g)ory, e9ce-t the race o* Iscariot, the chi).ren o* -er.ition For +hat ha--ens in yo'r co'rt, Leo, e9ce-t that, the &ore +ic/e. an. e9ecrab)e any &an
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Concerning Christian Liberty

is, the &ore -ros-ero's)y he can 'se yo'r na&e an. a'thority *or the r'in o* the -ro-erty an. so')s o* &en, *or the &')ti-)ication o* cri&es, *or the o--ression o* *aith an. tr'th an. o* the +ho)e Ch'rch o* !o.= Oh, LeoB in rea)ity &ost 'n*ort'nate, an. sitting on a &ost -eri)o's throne, I te)) yo' the tr'th, beca'se I +ish yo' +e))0 *or i* #ernar. *e)t co&-assion *or his Anastasi's at a ti&e +hen the Ro&an see, tho'gh e(en then &ost corr'-t, +as as yet r')ing +ith better ho-e than no+, +hy sho'). not +e )a&ent, to +ho& so &'ch *'rther corr'-tion an. r'in has been a..e. in three h'n.re. years= Is it not tr'e that there is nothing 'n.er the (ast hea(ens &ore corr'-t, &ore -esti)entia), &ore hate*'), than the Co'rt o* Ro&e= "he inco&-arab)y s'r-asses the i&-iety o* the T'r/s, so that in (ery tr'th she, +ho +as *or&er)y the gate o* hea(en, is no+ a sort o* o-en &o'th o* he)), an. s'ch a &o'th as, 'n.er the 'rgent +rath o* !o., cannot be b)oc/e. '-0 one co'rse a)one being )e*t to 's +retche. &en5 to ca)) bac/ an. sa(e so&e *e+, i* +e can, *ro& that Ro&an g')* #eho)., Leo, &y *ather, +ith +hat -'r-ose an. on +hat -rinci-)e it is that I ha(e stor&e. against that seat o* -esti)ence I a& so *ar *ro& ha(ing *e)t any rage against yo'r -erson that I e(en ho-e. to gain *a(o'r +ith yo' an. to ai. yo' in yo'r +e)*are by stri/ing acti(e)y an. (igoro's)y at that yo'r -rison, nay, yo'r he)) For +hate(er the e**orts o* a)) &in.s can contri(e against the con*'sion o* that i&-io's Co'rt +i)) be a.(antageo's to yo' an. to yo'r +e)*are, an. to &any others +ith yo' Those +ho .o har& to her are .oing yo'r o**ice0 those +ho in e(ery +ay abhor her are g)ori*ying Christ0 in short, those are Christians +ho are not Ro&ans #'t, to say yet &ore, e(en this ne(er entere. &y heart5 to in(eigh against the Co'rt o* Ro&e or to .is-'te at a)) abo't her
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Concerning Christian Liberty

For, seeing a)) re&e.ies *or her hea)th to be .es-erate, I )oo/e. on her +ith conte&-t, an., gi(ing her a bi)) o* .i(orce&ent, sai. to her, @He that is 'n3'st, )et hi& be 'n3'st sti))0 an. he that is *i)thy, )et hi& be *i)thy sti)),A gi(ing &yse)* '- to the -eace*') an. 4'iet st'.y o* sacre. )iterat're, that by this I &ight be o* 'se to the brethren )i(ing abo't &e <hi)e I +as &a/ing so&e a.(ance in these st'.ies, "atan o-ene. his eyes an. goa.e. on his ser(ant 2ohn Ecci's, that notorio's a.(ersary o* Christ, by the 'nchec/e. )'st *or *a&e, to .rag &e 'ne9-ecte.)y into the arena, trying to catch &e in one )itt)e +or. concerning the -ri&acy o* the Ch'rch o* Ro&e, +hich ha. *a))en *ro& &e in -assing That boast*') Thraso, *oa&ing an. gnashing his teeth, -roc)ai&e. that he +o'). .are a)) things *or the g)ory o* !o. an. *or the hono'r o* the ho)y a-osto)ic seat0 an., being -'**e. '- res-ecting yo'r -o+er, +hich he +as abo't to &is'se, he )oo/e. *or+ar. +ith a)) certainty to (ictory0 see/ing to -ro&ote, not so &'ch the -ri&acy o* Peter, as his o+n -re:e&inence a&ong the theo)ogians o* this age0 *or he tho'ght it +o'). contrib'te in no s)ight .egree to this, i* he +ere to )ea. L'ther in tri'&-h The res')t ha(ing -ro(e. 'n*ort'nate *or the so-hist, an incre.ib)e rage tor&ents hi&0 *or he *ee)s that +hate(er .iscre.it to Ro&e has arisen thro'gh &e has been ca'se. by the *a')t o* hi&se)* a)one "'**er &e, I -ray yo', &ost e9ce))ent Leo, both to -)ea. &y o+n ca'se, an. to acc'se yo'r tr'e ene&ies I be)ie(e it is /no+n to yo' in +hat +ay Car.ina) Ca3etan, yo'r i&-r'.ent an. 'n*ort'nate, nay 'n*aith*'), )egate, acte. to+ar.s &e <hen, on acco'nt o* &y re(erence *or yo'r na&e, I ha. -)ace. &yse)* an. a)) that +as &ine in his han.s, he .i. not so act as to estab)ish -eace, +hich he co'). easi)y ha(e estab)ishe. by one
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Concerning Christian Liberty

)itt)e +or., since I at that ti&e -ro&ise. to be si)ent an. to &a/e an en. o* &y case, i* he +o'). co&&an. &y a.(ersaries to .o the sa&e #'t that &an o* -ri.e, not content +ith this agree&ent, began to 3'sti*y &y a.(ersaries, to gi(e the& *ree )icence, an. to or.er &e to recant, a thing +hich +as certain)y not in his co&&ission Th's in.ee., +hen the case +as in the best -osition, it ca&e thro'gh his (e9atio's tyranny into a &'ch +orse one There*ore +hate(er has *o))o+e. '-on this is the *a')t not o* L'ther, b't entire)y o* Ca3etan, since he .i. not s'**er &e to be si)ent an. re&ain 4'iet, +hich at that ti&e I +as entreating *or +ith a)) &y &ight <hat &ore +as it &y .'ty to .o= Ne9t ca&e Char)es Mi)tit8, a)so a n'ncio *ro& yo'r #)esse.ness He, tho'gh he +ent '- an. .o+n +ith &'ch an. (arie. e9ertion, an. o&itte. nothing +hich co'). ten. to restore the -osition o* the ca'se thro+n into con*'sion by the rashness an. -ri.e o* Ca3etan, ha. .i**ic')ty, e(en +ith the he)o* that (ery i))'strio's -rince the E)ector Fre.eric/, in at )ast bringing abo't &ore than one *a&i)iar con*erence +ith &e In these I again yie).e. to yo'r great na&e, an. +as -re-are. to /ee- si)ence, an. to acce-t as &y 3'.ge either the Archbishoo* Tre(es, or the #isho- o* Na'&b'rg0 an. th's it +as .one an. conc)'.e. <hi)e this +as being .one +ith goo. ho-e o* s'ccess, )oB that other an. greater ene&y o* yo'rs, Ecci's, r'she. in +ith his Lei-sic .is-'tation, +hich he ha. 'n.erta/en against Car)sta.t, an., ha(ing ta/en '- a ne+ 4'estion concerning the -ri&acy o* the Po-e, t'rne. his ar&s 'ne9-ecte.)y against &e, an. co&-)ete)y o(erthre+ the -)an *or -eace Mean+hi)e Char)es Mi)tit8 +as +aiting, .is-'tations +ere he)., 3'.ges +ere being chosen, b't no .ecision +as arri(e. at An. no +on.erB *or by the *a)sehoo.s, -retences, an. arts o* Ecci's the +ho)e b'siness +as bro'ght into s'ch
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Concerning Christian Liberty

thoro'gh .isor.er, con*'sion, an. *estering soreness, that, +hiche(er +ay the sentence &ight )ean, a greater con*)agration +as s're to arise0 *or he +as see/ing, not a*ter tr'th, b't a*ter his o+n cre.it In this case too I o&itte. nothing +hich it +as right that I sho'). .o I con*ess that on this occasion no s&a)) -art o* the corr'-tions o* Ro&e ca&e to )ight0 b't, i* there +as any o**ence in this, it +as the *a')t o* Ecci's, +ho, in ta/ing on hi& a b'r.en beyon. his strength, an. in *'rio's)y ai&ing at cre.it *or hi&se)*, 'n(ei)e. to the +ho)e +or). the .isgrace o* Ro&e Here is that ene&y o* yo'rs, Leo, or rather o* yo'r Co'rt0 by his e9a&-)e a)one +e &ay )earn that an ene&y is not &ore bane*') than a *)atterer For +hat .i. he bring abo't by his *)attery, e9ce-t e(i)s +hich no /ing co'). ha(e bro'ght abo't= At this .ay the na&e o* the Co'rt o* Ro&e stin/s in the nostri)s o* the +or)., the -a-a) a'thority is gro+ing +ea/, an. its notorio's ignorance is e(i) s-o/en o* <e sho'). hear none o* these things, i* Ecci's ha. not .ist'rbe. the -)ans o* Mi)tit8 an. &yse)* *or -eace He *ee)s this c)ear)y eno'gh hi&se)* in the in.ignation he sho+s, too )ate an. in (ain, against the -'b)ication o* &y boo/s He o'ght to ha(e re*)ecte. on this at the ti&e +hen he +as a)) &a. *or reno+n, an. +as see/ing in yo'r ca'se nothing b't his o+n ob3ects, an. that +ith the greatest -eri) to yo' The *oo)ish &an ho-e. that, *ro& *ear o* yo'r na&e, I sho'). yie). an. /ee- si)ence0 *or I .o not thin/ he -res'&e. on his ta)ents an. )earning No+, +hen he sees that I a& (ery con*i.ent an. s-ea/ a)o'., he re-ents too )ate o* his rashness, an. sees1i* in.ee. he .oes see it1that there is One in hea(en +ho resists the -ro'., an. h'&b)es the -res'&-t'o's "ince then +e +ere bringing abo't by this .is-'tation nothing
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Concerning Christian Liberty

b't the greater con*'sion o* the ca'se o* Ro&e, Char)es Mi)tit8 *or the thir. ti&e a..resse. the Fathers o* the Or.er, asse&b)e. in cha-ter, an. so'ght their a.(ice *or the sett)e&ent o* the case, as being no+ in a &ost tro'b)e. an. -eri)o's state "ince, by the *a(o'r o* !o., there +as no ho-e o* -rocee.ing against &e by *orce, so&e o* the &ore note. o* their n'&ber +ere sent to &e, an. begge. &e at )east to sho+ res-ect to yo'r -erson an. to (in.icate in a h'&b)e )etter both yo'r innocence an. &y o+n They sai. that the a**air +as not as yet in a -osition o* e9tre&e ho-e)essness, i* Leo X , in his inborn /in.)iness, +o'). -'t his han. to it On this I, +ho ha(e a)+ays o**ere. an. +ishe. *or -eace, in or.er that I &ight .e(ote &yse)* to ca)&er an. &ore 'se*') -'rs'its, an. +ho *or this (ery -'r-ose ha(e acte. +ith so &'ch s-irit an. (ehe&ence, in or.er to -'t .o+n by the strength an. i&-et'osity o* &y +or.s, as +e)) as o* &y *ee)ings, &en +ho& I sa+ to be (ery *ar *ro& e4'a) to &yse)* 1I, I say, not on)y g)a.)y yie).e., b't e(en acce-te. it +ith 3oy an. gratit'.e, as the greatest /in.ness an. bene*it, i* yo' sho'). thin/ it right to satis*y &y ho-es Th's I co&e, &ost b)esse. Father, an. in a)) abase&ent beseech yo' to -'t to yo'r han., i* it is -ossib)e, an. i&-ose a c'rb to those *)atterers +ho are ene&ies o* -eace, +hi)e they -reten. -eace #'t there is no reason, &ost b)esse. Father, +hy any one sho'). ass'&e that I a& to 'tter a recantation, 'n)ess he -re*ers to in(o)(e the case in sti)) greater con*'sion Moreo(er, I cannot bear +ith )a+s *or the inter-retation o* the +or. o* !o., since the +or. o* !o., +hich teaches )iberty in a)) other things, o'ght not to be bo'n. "a(ing these t+o things, there is nothing +hich I a& not ab)e, an. &ost hearti)y +i))ing, to .o or to s'**er I hate contention0 I +i)) cha))enge no one0 in ret'rn I +ish not to be cha))enge.0 b't, being cha))enge., I +i)) not be .'&b in the
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Concerning Christian Liberty

ca'se o* Christ &y Master For yo'r #)esse.ness +i)) be ab)e by one short an. easy +or. to ca)) these contro(ersies be*ore yo' an. s'--ress the&, an. to i&-ose si)ence an. -eace on both si.es1a +or. +hich I ha(e e(er )onge. to hear There*ore, Leo, &y Father, be+are o* )istening to those sirens +ho &a/e yo' o't to be not si&-)y a &an, b't -art)y a go., so that yo' can co&&an. an. re4'ire +hate(er yo' +i)) It +i)) not ha--en so, nor +i)) yo' -re(ai) $o' are the ser(ant o* ser(ants, an. &ore than any other &an, in a &ost -itiab)e an. -eri)o's -osition Let not those &en .ecei(e yo' +ho -reten. that yo' are )or. o* the +or).0 +ho +i)) not a))o+ any one to be a Christian +itho't yo'r a'thority0 +ho babb)e o* yo'r ha(ing -o+er o(er hea(en, he)), an. -'rgatory These &en are yo'r ene&ies an. are see/ing yo'r so') to .estroy it, as Isaiah says, @My -eo-)e, they that ca)) thee b)esse. are the&se)(es .ecei(ing thee A They are in error +ho raise yo' abo(e co'nci)s an. the 'ni(ersa) Ch'rch0 they are in error +ho attrib'te to yo' a)one the right o* inter-reting "cri-t're A)) these &en are see/ing to set '- their o+n i&-ieties in the Ch'rch 'n.er yo'r na&e, an. a)asB "atan has gaine. &'ch thro'gh the& in the ti&e o* yo'r -re.ecessors In brie*, tr'st not in any +ho e9a)t yo', b't in those +ho h'&i)iate yo' For this is the 3'.g&ent o* !o.5 @He hath cast .o+n the &ighty *ro& their seat, an. hath e9a)te. the h'&b)e A "ee ho+ 'n)i/e Christ +as to His s'ccessors, tho'gh a)) +i)) ha(e it that they are His (icars I *ear that in tr'th (ery &any o* the& ha(e been in too serio's a sense His (icars, *or a (icar re-resents a -rince +ho is absent No+ i* a -onti** r')es +hi)e Christ is absent an. .oes not .+e)) in his heart, +hat e)se is he b't a (icar o* Christ= An. then +hat is that Ch'rch b't a &')tit'.e +itho't Christ= <hat in.ee. is s'ch a (icar b't
1%

Concerning Christian Liberty

antichrist an. an i.o)= Ho+ &'ch &ore right)y .i. the A-ost)es s-ea/, +ho ca)) the&se)(es ser(ants o* a -resent Christ, not the (icars o* an absent oneB Perha-s I a& sha&e)ess)y bo). in see&ing to teach so great a hea., by +ho& a)) &en o'ght to be ta'ght, an. *ro& +ho&, as those -)ag'es o* yo'rs boast, the thrones o* 3'.ges recei(e their sentence0 b't I i&itate "t #ernar. in his boo/ concerning Consi.erations a..resse. to E'geni's, a boo/ +hich o'ght to be /no+n by heart by e(ery -onti** I .o this, not *ro& any .esire to teach, b't as a .'ty, *ro& that si&-)e an. *aith*') so)icit'.e +hich teaches 's to be an9io's *or a)) that is sa*e *or o'r neighbo'rs, an. .oes not a))o+ consi.erations o* +orthiness or 'n+orthiness to be entertaine., being intent on)y on the .angers or a.(antage o* others For since I /no+ that yo'r #)esse.ness is .ri(en an. tosse. by the +a(es at Ro&e, so that the .e-ths o* the sea -ress on yo' +ith in*inite -eri)s, an. that yo' are )abo'ring 'n.er s'ch a con.ition o* &isery that yo' nee. e(en the )east he)- *ro& any the )east brother, I .o not see& to &yse)* to be acting 'ns'itab)y i* I *orget yo'r &a3esty ti)) I sha)) ha(e *')*i))e. the o**ice o* charity I +i)) not *)atter in so serio's an. -eri)o's a &atter0 an. i* in this yo' .o not see that I a& yo'r *rien. an. &ost thoro'gh)y yo'r s'b3ect, there is One to see an. 3'.ge In *ine, that I &ay not a--roach yo' e&-ty:han.e., b)esse. Father, I bring +ith &e this )itt)e treatise, -'b)ishe. 'n.er yo'r na&e, as a goo. o&en o* the estab)ish&ent o* -eace an. o* goo. ho-e #y this yo' &ay -ercei(e in +hat -'rs'its I sho'). -re*er an. be ab)e to occ'-y &yse)* to &ore -ro*it, i* I +ere a))o+e., or ha. been hitherto a))o+e., by yo'r i&-io's *)atterers It is a s&a)) &atter, i* yo' )oo/ to its e9terior, b't, 'n)ess I &ista/e, it is a s'&&ary o* the Christian )i*e -'t
16

Concerning Christian Liberty

together in s&a)) co&-ass, i* yo' a--rehen. its &eaning I, in &y -o(erty, ha(e no other -resent to &a/e yo', nor .o yo' nee. anything e)se than to be enriche. by a s-irit'a) gi*t I co&&en. &yse)* to yo'r Paternity an. #)esse.ness, +ho& &ay the Lor. 2es's -reser(e *or e(er A&en <ittenberg, ?th "e-te&ber, 1>2F CONCERNING CHRISTIAN LIBERTY Christian *aith has a--eare. to &any an easy thing0 nay, not a *e+ e(en rec/on it a&ong the socia) (irt'es, as it +ere0 an. this they .o beca'se they ha(e not &a.e -roo* o* it e9-eri&enta))y, an. ha(e ne(er taste. o* +hat e**icacy it is For it is not -ossib)e *or any &an to +rite +e)) abo't it, or to 'n.erstan. +e)) +hat is right)y +ritten, +ho has not at so&e ti&e taste. o* its s-irit, 'n.er the -ress're o* trib')ation0 +hi)e he +ho has taste. o* it, e(en to a (ery s&a)) e9tent, can ne(er +rite, s-ea/, thin/, or hear abo't it s'**icient)y For it is a )i(ing *o'ntain, s-ringing '- into eterna) )i*e, as Christ ca))s it in 2ohn i( No+, tho'gh I cannot boast o* &y ab'n.ance, an. tho'gh I /no+ ho+ -oor)y I a& *'rnishe., yet I ho-e that, a*ter ha(ing been (e9e. by (ario's te&-tations, I ha(e attaine. so&e )itt)e .ro- o* *aith, an. that I can s-ea/ o* this &atter, i* not +ith &ore e)egance, certain)y +ith &ore so)i.ity, than those )itera) an. too s'bt)e .is-'tants +ho ha(e hitherto .isco'rse. '-on it +itho't 'n.erstan.ing their o+n +or.s That I &ay o-en then an easier +ay *or the ignorant1*or these a)one I a& trying to ser(e1I *irst )ay .o+n these t+o -ro-ositions, concerning s-irit'a) )iberty an. ser(it'.e51 A Christian &an is the &ost *ree )or. o* a)), an. s'b3ect to none0 a Christian &an is the &ost .'ti*') ser(ant o* a)), an. s'b3ect to
1>

Concerning Christian Liberty

e(ery one A)tho'gh these state&ents a--ear contra.ictory, yet, +hen they are *o'n. to agree together, they +i)) &a/e e9ce))ent)y *or &y -'r-ose They are both the state&ents o* Pa') hi&se)*, +ho says, @Tho'gh I be *ree *ro& a)) &en, yet ha(e I &a.e &yse)* ser(ant 'nto a))A G1 Cor i9 1EH, an. @O+e no &an anything, b't to )o(e one anotherA GRo& 9iii DH No+ )o(e is by its o+n nat're .'ti*') an. obe.ient to the be)o(e. ob3ect Th's e(en Christ, tho'gh Lor. o* a)) things, +as yet &a.e o* a +o&an0 &a.e 'n.er the )a+0 at once *ree an. a ser(ant0 at once in the *or& o* !o. an. in the *or& o* a ser(ant Let 's e9a&ine the s'b3ect on a .ee-er an. )ess si&-)e -rinci-)e Man is co&-ose. o* a t+o*o). nat're, a s-irit'a) an. a bo.i)y As regar.s the s-irit'a) nat're, +hich they na&e the so'), he is ca))e. the s-irit'a), in+ar., ne+ &an0 as regar.s the bo.i)y nat're, +hich they na&e the *)esh, he is ca))e. the *)esh)y, o't+ar., o). &an The A-ost)e s-ea/s o* this5 @Tho'gh o'r o't+ar. &an -erish, yet the in+ar. &an is rene+e. .ay by .ayA G2 Cor i( 1?H The res')t o* this .i(ersity is that in the "cri-t'res o--osing state&ents are &a.e concerning the sa&e &an, the *act being that in the sa&e &an these t+o &en are o--ose. to one another0 the *)esh )'sting against the s-irit, an. the s-irit against the *)esh G!a) ( 1CH <e *irst a--roach the s'b3ect o* the in+ar. &an, that +e &ay see by +hat &eans a &an beco&es 3'sti*ie., *ree, an. a tr'e Christian0 that is, a s-irit'a), ne+, an. in+ar. &an It is certain that abso)'te)y none a&ong o't+ar. things, 'n.er +hate(er na&e they &ay be rec/one., has any in*)'ence in -ro.'cing Christian righteo'sness or )iberty, nor, on the other han., 'nrighteo'sness or s)a(ery This can be sho+n by an easy arg'&ent
1?

Concerning Christian Liberty

<hat can it -ro*it the so') that the bo.y sho'). be in goo. con.ition, *ree, an. *')) o* )i*e0 that it sho'). eat, .rin/, an. act accor.ing to its -)eas're0 +hen e(en the &ost i&-io's s)a(es o* e(ery /in. o* (ice are -ros-ero's in these &atters= Again, +hat har& can i)):hea)th, bon.age, h'nger, thirst, or any other o't+ar. e(i), .o to the so'), +hen e(en the &ost -io's o* &en an. the *reest in the -'rity o* their conscience, are harasse. by these things= Neither o* these states o* things has to .o +ith the )iberty or the s)a(ery o* the so') An. so it +i)) -ro*it nothing that the bo.y sho'). be a.orne. +ith sacre. (est&ents, or .+e)) in ho)y -)aces, or be occ'-ie. in sacre. o**ices, or -ray, *ast, an. abstain *ro& certain &eats, or .o +hate(er +or/s can be .one thro'gh the bo.y an. in the bo.y "o&ething +i.e)y .i**erent +i)) be necessary *or the 3'sti*ication an. )iberty o* the so'), since the things I ha(e s-o/en o* can be .one by any i&-io's -erson, an. on)y hy-ocrites are -ro.'ce. by .e(otion to these things On the other han., it +i)) not at a)) in3're the so') that the bo.y sho'). be c)othe. in -ro*ane rai&ent, sho'). .+e)) in -ro*ane -)aces, sho'). eat an. .rin/ in the or.inary *ashion, sho'). not -ray a)o'., an. sho'). )ea(e 'n.one a)) the things abo(e &entione., +hich &ay be .one by hy-ocrites An., to cast e(erything asi.e, e(en s-ec')ation, &e.itations, an. +hate(er things can be -er*or&e. by the e9ertions o* the so') itse)*, are o* no -ro*it One thing, an. one a)one, is necessary *or )i*e, 3'sti*ication, an. Christian )iberty0 an. that is the &ost ho)y +or. o* !o., the !os-e) o* Christ, as He says, @I a& the res'rrection an. the )i*e0 he that be)ie(eth in Me sha)) not .ie eterna))yA G2ohn 9i 2>H, an. a)so, @I* the "on sha)) &a/e yo' *ree, ye sha)) be *ree in.ee.A G2ohn (iii %?H, an., @Man sha)) not )i(e by brea. a)one, b't by e(ery +or. that -rocee.eth
1C

Concerning Christian Liberty

o't o* the &o'th o* !o.A GMatt i( 6H Let 's there*ore ho). it *or certain an. *ir&)y estab)ishe. that the so') can .o +itho't e(erything e9ce-t the +or. o* !o., +itho't +hich none at a)) o* its +ants are -ro(i.e. *or #'t, ha(ing the +or., it is rich an. +ants *or nothing, since that is the +or. o* )i*e, o* tr'th, o* )ight, o* -eace, o* 3'sti*ication, o* sa)(ation, o* 3oy, o* )iberty, o* +is.o&, o* (irt'e, o* grace, o* g)ory, an. o* e(ery goo. thing It is on this acco'nt that the -ro-het in a +ho)e Psa)& GPsa)& c9i9 H, an. in &any other -)aces, sighs *or an. ca))s '-on the +or. o* !o. +ith so &any groanings an. +or.s Again, there is no &ore cr'e) stro/e o* the +rath o* !o. than +hen He sen.s a *a&ine o* hearing His +or.s GA&os (iii 11H, 3'st as there is no greater *a(o'r *ro& Hi& than the sen.ing *orth o* His +or., as it is sai., @He sent His +or. an. hea)e. the&, an. .e)i(ere. the& *ro& their .estr'ctionsA GPsa)& c(ii 2FH Christ +as sent *or no other o**ice than that o* the +or.0 an. the or.er o* A-ost)es, that o* bisho-s, an. that o* the +ho)e bo.y o* the c)ergy, ha(e been ca))e. an. instit'te. *or no ob3ect b't the &inistry o* the +or. #'t yo' +i)) as/, <hat is this +or., an. by +hat &eans is it to be 'se., since there are so &any +or.s o* !o.= I ans+er, The A-ost)e Pa') GRo& i H e9-)ains +hat it is, na&e)y the !os-e) o* !o., concerning His "on, incarnate, s'**ering, risen, an. g)ori*ie., thro'gh the "-irit, the "ancti*ier To -reach Christ is to *ee. the so'), to 3'sti*y it, to set it *ree, an. to sa(e it, i* it be)ie(es the -reaching For *aith a)one an. the e**icacio's 'se o* the +or. o* !o., bring sa)(ation @I* tho' sha)t con*ess +ith thy &o'th the Lor. 2es's, an. sha)t be)ie(e in thine heart that !o. hath raise. Hi& *ro& the .ea., tho' sha)t be sa(e.A GRo& 9 EH0 an. again, @Christ is the en. o* the )a+ *or righteo'sness
1D

Concerning Christian Liberty

to e(ery one that be)ie(ethA GRo& 9 6H, an. @The 3'st sha)) )i(e by *aithA GRo& i 1CH For the +or. o* !o. cannot be recei(e. an. hono're. by any +or/s, b't by *aith a)one Hence it is c)ear that as the so') nee.s the +or. a)one *or )i*e an. 3'sti*ication, so it is 3'sti*ie. by *aith a)one, an. not by any +or/s For i* it co'). be 3'sti*ie. by any other &eans, it +o'). ha(e no nee. o* the +or., nor conse4'ent)y o* *aith #'t this *aith cannot consist at a)) +ith +or/s0 that is, i* yo' i&agine that yo' can be 3'sti*ie. by those +or/s, +hate(er they are, a)ong +ith it For this +o'). be to ha)t bet+een t+o o-inions, to +orshi- #aa), an. to /iss the han. to hi&, +hich is a (ery great ini4'ity, as 2ob says There*ore, +hen yo' begin to be)ie(e, yo' )earn at the sa&e ti&e that a)) that is in yo' is 'tter)y g'i)ty, sin*'), an. .a&nab)e, accor.ing to that saying, @A)) ha(e sinne., an. co&e short o* the g)ory o* !o.A GRo& iii 2%H, an. a)so5 @There is none righteo's, no, not one0 they are a)) gone o't o* the +ay0 they are together beco&e 'n-ro*itab)e5 there is none that .oeth goo., no, not oneA GRo& iii 1F:12H <hen yo' ha(e )earnt this, yo' +i)) /no+ that Christ is necessary *or yo', since He has s'**ere. an. risen again *or yo', that, be)ie(ing on Hi&, yo' &ight by this *aith beco&e another &an, a)) yo'r sins being re&itte., an. yo' being 3'sti*ie. by the &erits o* another, na&e)y o* Christ a)one "ince then this *aith can reign on)y in the in+ar. &an, as it is sai., @<ith the heart &an be)ie(eth 'nto righteo'snessA GRo& 9 1FH0 an. since it a)one 3'sti*ies, it is e(i.ent that by no o't+ar. +or/ or )abo'r can the in+ar. &an be at a)) 3'sti*ie., &a.e *ree, an. sa(e.0 an. that no +or/s +hate(er ha(e any re)ation to hi& An. so, on the other han., it is so)e)y by i&-iety an. incre.')ity o* heart that he beco&es g'i)ty an. a s)a(e o* sin, .eser(ing con.e&nation, not by any o't+ar. sin or
1E

Concerning Christian Liberty

+or/ There*ore the *irst care o* e(ery Christian o'ght to be to )ay asi.e a)) re)iance on +or/s, an. strengthen his *aith a)one &ore an. &ore, an. by it gro+ in the /no+)e.ge, not o* +or/s, b't o* Christ 2es's, +ho has s'**ere. an. risen again *or hi&, as Peter teaches G1 Peter ( H +hen he &a/es no other +or/ to be a Christian one Th's Christ, +hen the 2e+s as/e. Hi& +hat they sho'). .o that they &ight +or/ the +or/s o* !o., re3ecte. the &')tit'.e o* +or/s, +ith +hich He sa+ that they +ere -'**e. '-, an. co&&an.e. the& one thing on)y, saying, @This is the +or/ o* !o.5 that ye be)ie(e on Hi& +ho& He hath sent, *or Hi& hath !o. the Father sea)e.A G2ohn (i 2C, 2EH Hence a right *aith in Christ is an inco&-arab)e treas're, carrying +ith it 'ni(ersa) sa)(ation an. -reser(ing *ro& a)) e(i), as it is sai., @He that be)ie(eth an. is ba-tise. sha)) be sa(e.0 b't he that be)ie(eth not sha)) be .a&ne.A GMar/ 9(i 1?H Isaiah, )oo/ing to this treas're, -re.icte., @The cons'&-tion .ecree. sha)) o(er*)o+ +ith righteo'sness For the Lor. !o. o* hosts sha)) &a/e a cons'&-tion, e(en .eter&ine. G(erb'& abbre(iat'& et cons'&&ansH, in the &i.st o* the )an.A GIsa 9 22, 2%H As i* he sai., @Faith, +hich is the brie* an. co&-)ete *')*i))ing o* the )a+, +i)) *i)) those +ho be)ie(e +ith s'ch righteo'sness that they +i)) nee. nothing e)se *or 3'sti*ication A Th's, too, Pa') says, @For +ith the heart &an be)ie(eth 'nto righteo'snessA GRo& 9 1FH #'t yo' as/ ho+ it can be the *act that *aith a)one 3'sti*ies, an. a**or.s +itho't +or/s so great a treas're o* goo. things, +hen so &any +or/s, cere&onies, an. )a+s are -rescribe. to 's in the "cri-t'res= I ans+er, #e*ore a)) things bear in &in. +hat I ha(e sai.5 that *aith a)one +itho't +or/s 3'sti*ies, sets *ree, an. sa(es, as I sha)) sho+ &ore c)ear)y be)o+ Mean+hi)e it is to be note. that the +ho)e "cri-t're o* !o. is
2F

Concerning Christian Liberty

.i(i.e. into t+o -arts5 -rece-ts an. -ro&ises The -rece-ts certain)y teach 's +hat is goo., b't +hat they teach is not *orth+ith .one For they sho+ 's +hat +e o'ght to .o, b't .o not gi(e 's the -o+er to .o it They +ere or.aine., ho+e(er, *or the -'r-ose o* sho+ing &an to hi&se)*, that thro'gh the& he &ay )earn his o+n i&-otence *or goo. an. &ay .es-air o* his o+n strength For this reason they are ca))e. the O). Testa&ent, an. are so For e9a&-)e, @Tho' sha)t not co(et,A is a -rece-t by +hich +e are a)) con(icte. o* sin, since no &an can he)- co(eting, +hate(er e**orts to the contrary he &ay &a/e In or.er there*ore that he &ay *')*i) the -rece-t, an. not co(et, he is constraine. to .es-air o* hi&se)* an. to see/ e)se+here an. thro'gh another the he)- +hich he cannot *in. in hi&se)*0 as it is sai., @O Israe), tho' hast .estroye. thyse)*0 b't in Me is thine he)-A GHosea 9iii EH No+ +hat is .one by this one -rece-t is .one by a))0 *or a)) are e4'a))y i&-ossib)e o* *')*i)&ent by 's No+ +hen a &an has thro'gh the -rece-ts been ta'ght his o+n i&-otence, an. beco&e an9io's by +hat &eans he &ay satis*y the )a+1*or the )a+ &'st be satis*ie., so that no 3ot or titt)e o* it &ay -ass a+ay, other+ise he &'st be ho-e)ess)y con.e&ne. 1then, being tr')y h'&b)e. an. bro'ght to nothing in his o+n eyes, he *in.s in hi&se)* no reso'rce *or 3'sti*ication an. sa)(ation Then co&es in that other -art o* "cri-t're, the -ro&ises o* !o., +hich .ec)are the g)ory o* !o., an. say, @I* yo' +ish to *')*i) the )a+, an., as the )a+ re4'ires, not to co(et, )oB be)ie(e in Christ, in +ho& are -ro&ise. to yo' grace, 3'sti*ication, -eace, an. )iberty A A)) these things yo' sha)) ha(e, i* yo' be)ie(e, an. sha)) be +itho't the& i* yo' .o not be)ie(e For +hat is i&-ossib)e *or yo' by a)) the +or/s o* the )a+, +hich are &any
21

Concerning Christian Liberty

an. yet 'se)ess, yo' sha)) *')*i) in an easy an. s'&&ary +ay thro'gh *aith, beca'se !o. the Father has &a.e e(erything to .e-en. on *aith, so that +hosoe(er has it has a)) things, an. he +ho has it not has nothing @For !o. hath conc)'.e. the& a)) in 'nbe)ie*, that He &ight ha(e &ercy '-on a))A GRo& 9i %2H Th's the -ro&ises o* !o. gi(e that +hich the -rece-ts e9act, an. *')*i) +hat the )a+ co&&an.s0 so that a)) is o* !o. a)one, both the -rece-ts an. their *')*i)&ent He a)one co&&an.s0 He a)one a)so *')*i)s Hence the -ro&ises o* !o. be)ong to the Ne+ Testa&ent0 nay, are the Ne+ Testa&ent No+, since these -ro&ises o* !o. are +or.s o* ho)iness, tr'th, righteo'sness, )iberty, an. -eace, an. are *')) o* 'ni(ersa) goo.ness, the so'), +hich c)ea(es to the& +ith a *ir& *aith, is so 'nite. to the&, nay, thoro'gh)y absorbe. by the&, that it not on)y -arta/es in, b't is -enetrate. an. sat'rate. by, a)) their (irt'es For i* the to'ch o* Christ +as hea)ing, ho+ &'ch &ore .oes that &ost ten.er s-irit'a) to'ch, nay, absor-tion o* the +or., co&&'nicate to the so') a)) that be)ongs to the +or.B In this +ay there*ore the so'), thro'gh *aith a)one, +itho't +or/s, is *ro& the +or. o* !o. 3'sti*ie., sancti*ie., en.'e. +ith tr'th, -eace, an. )iberty, an. *i))e. *')) +ith e(ery goo. thing, an. is tr')y &a.e the chi). o* !o., as it is sai., @To the& ga(e He -o+er to beco&e the sons o* !o., e(en to the& that be)ie(e on His na&eA G2ohn i 12H Fro& a)) this it is easy to 'n.erstan. +hy *aith has s'ch great -o+er, an. +hy no goo. +or/s, nor e(en a)) goo. +or/s -'t together, can co&-are +ith it, since no +or/ can c)ea(e to the +or. o* !o. or be in the so') Faith a)one an. the +or. reign in it0 an. s'ch as is the +or., s'ch is the so') &a.e by it, 3'st as iron e9-ose. to *ire g)o+s )i/e *ire, on acco'nt o* its 'nion +ith the *ire It is c)ear then that to a Christian &an his *aith s'**ices
22

Concerning Christian Liberty

*or e(erything, an. that he has no nee. o* +or/s *or 3'sti*ication #'t i* he has no nee. o* +or/s, neither has he nee. o* the )a+0 an. i* he has no nee. o* the )a+, he is certain)y *ree *ro& the )a+, an. the saying is tr'e, @The )a+ is not &a.e *or a righteo's &anA G1 Ti& i EH This is that Christian )iberty, o'r *aith, the e**ect o* +hich is, not that +e sho'). be care)ess or )ea. a ba. )i*e, b't that no one sho'). nee. the )a+ or +or/s *or 3'sti*ication an. sa)(ation Let 's consi.er this as the *irst (irt'e o* *aith0 an. )et 's )oo/ a)so to the secon. This a)so is an o**ice o* *aith5 that it hono'rs +ith the 't&ost (eneration an. the highest re-'tation Hi& in +ho& it be)ie(es, inas&'ch as it ho).s Hi& to be tr'th*') an. +orthy o* be)ie* For there is no hono'r )i/e that re-'tation o* tr'th an. righteo'sness +ith +hich +e hono'r Hi& in +ho& +e be)ie(e <hat higher cre.it can +e attrib'te to any one than tr'th an. righteo'sness, an. abso)'te goo.ness= On the other han., it is the greatest ins')t to bran. any one +ith the re-'tation o* *a)sehoo. an. 'nrighteo'sness, or to s's-ect hi& o* these, as +e .o +hen +e .isbe)ie(e hi& Th's the so'), in *ir&)y be)ie(ing the -ro&ises o* !o., ho).s Hi& to be tr'e an. righteo's0 an. it can attrib'te to !o. no higher g)ory than the cre.it o* being so The highest +orshi- o* !o. is to ascribe to Hi& tr'th, righteo'sness, an. +hate(er 4'a)ities +e &'st ascribe to one in +ho& +e be)ie(e In .oing this the so') sho+s itse)* -re-are. to .o His +ho)e +i))0 in .oing this it ha))o+s His na&e, an. gi(es itse)* '- to be .ea)t +ith as it &ay -)ease !o. For it c)ea(es to His -ro&ises, an. ne(er .o'bts that He is tr'e, 3'st, an. +ise, an. +i)) .o, .is-ose, an. -ro(i.e *or a)) things in the best +ay Is not s'ch a so'), in this its *aith, &ost obe.ient to !o. in a)) things= <hat co&&an.&ent .oes there re&ain +hich has not been a&-)y
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Concerning Christian Liberty

*')*i))e. by s'ch an obe.ience= <hat *')*i)&ent can be &ore *')) than 'ni(ersa) obe.ience= No+ this is not acco&-)ishe. by +or/s, b't by *aith a)one On the other han., +hat greater rebe))ion, i&-iety, or ins')t to !o. can there be, than not to be)ie(e His -ro&ises= <hat e)se is this, than either to &a/e !o. a )iar, or to .o'bt His tr'th1 that is, to attrib'te tr'th to o'rse)(es, b't to !o. *a)sehoo. an. )e(ity= In .oing this, is not a &an .enying !o. an. setting hi&se)* '- as an i.o) in his o+n heart= <hat then can +or/s, .one in s'ch a state o* i&-iety, -ro*it 's, +ere they e(en ange)ic or a-osto)ic +or/s= Right)y hath !o. sh't '- a)), not in +rath nor in )'st, b't in 'nbe)ie*, in or.er that those +ho -reten. that they are *')*i))ing the )a+ by +or/s o* -'rity an. bene(o)ence G+hich are socia) an. h'&an (irt'esH &ay not -res'&e that they +i)) there*ore be sa(e., b't, being inc)'.e. in the sin o* 'nbe)ie*, &ay either see/ &ercy, or be 3'st)y con.e&ne. #'t +hen !o. sees that tr'th is ascribe. to Hi&, an. that in the *aith o* o'r hearts He is hono're. +ith a)) the hono'r o* +hich He is +orthy, then in ret'rn He hono'rs 's on acco'nt o* that *aith, attrib'ting to 's tr'th an. righteo'sness For *aith .oes tr'th an. righteo'sness in ren.ering to !o. +hat is His0 an. there*ore in ret'rn !o. gi(es g)ory to o'r righteo'sness It is tr'e an. righteo's that !o. is tr'e an. righteo's0 an. to con*ess this an. ascribe these attrib'tes to Hi&, this it is to be tr'e an. righteo's Th's He says, @The& that hono'r Me I +i)) hono'r, an. they that .es-ise Me sha)) be )ight)y estee&e.A G1 "a& ii %FH An. so Pa') says that Abraha&;s *aith +as i&-'te. to hi& *or righteo'sness, beca'se by it he ga(e g)ory to !o.0 an. that to 's a)so, *or the sa&e reason, it sha)) be i&-'te. *or righteo'sness, i* +e be)ie(e GRo& i( H The thir. inco&-arab)e grace o* *aith is this5 that it 'nites the
26

Concerning Christian Liberty

so') to Christ, as the +i*e to the h'sban., by +hich &ystery, as the A-ost)e teaches, Christ an. the so') are &a.e one *)esh No+ i* they are one *)esh, an. i* a tr'e &arriage1nay, by *ar the &ost -er*ect o* a)) &arriages1is acco&-)ishe. bet+een the& G*or h'&an &arriages are b't *eeb)e ty-es o* this one great &arriageH, then it *o))o+s that a)) they ha(e beco&es theirs in co&&on, as +e)) goo. things as e(i) things0 so that +hatsoe(er Christ -ossesses, that the be)ie(ing so') &ay ta/e to itse)* an. boast o* as its o+n, an. +hate(er be)ongs to the so'), that Christ c)ai&s as His I* +e co&-are these -ossessions, +e sha)) see ho+ inesti&ab)e is the gain Christ is *')) o* grace, )i*e, an. sa)(ation0 the so') is *')) o* sin, .eath, an. con.e&nation Let *aith ste- in, an. then sin, .eath, an. he)) +i)) be)ong to Christ, an. grace, )i*e, an. sa)(ation to the so') For, i* He is a H'sban., He &'st nee.s ta/e to Hi&se)* that +hich is His +i*e;s, an. at the sa&e ti&e, i&-art to His +i*e that +hich is His For, in gi(ing her His o+n bo.y an. Hi&se)*, ho+ can He b't gi(e her a)) that is His= An., in ta/ing to Hi&se)* the bo.y o* His +i*e, ho+ can He b't ta/e to Hi&se)* a)) that is hers= In this is .is-)aye. the .e)ight*') sight, not on)y o* co&&'nion, b't o* a -ros-ero's +ar*are, o* (ictory, sa)(ation, an. re.e&-tion For, since Christ is !o. an. &an, an. is s'ch a Person as neither has sinne., nor .ies, nor is con.e&ne., nay, cannot sin, .ie, or be con.e&ne., an. since His righteo'sness, )i*e, an. sa)(ation are in(incib)e, eterna), an. a)&ighty,1+hen I say, s'ch a Person, by the +e..ing:ring o* *aith, ta/es a share in the sins, .eath, an. he)) o* His +i*e, nay, &a/es the& His o+n, an. .ea)s +ith the& no other+ise than as i* they +ere His, an. as i* He Hi&se)* ha. sinne.0 an. +hen He s'**ers, .ies, an. .escen.s to he)), that He &ay o(erco&e a)) things, an. since
2>

Concerning Christian Liberty

sin, .eath, an. he)) cannot s+a))o+ Hi& '-, they &'st nee.s be s+a))o+e. '- by Hi& in st'-en.o's con*)ict For His righteo'sness rises abo(e the sins o* a)) &en0 His )i*e is &ore -o+er*') than a)) .eath0 His sa)(ation is &ore 'ncon4'erab)e than a)) he)) Th's the be)ie(ing so'), by the -)e.ge o* its *aith in Christ, beco&es *ree *ro& a)) sin, *ear)ess o* .eath, sa*e *ro& he)), an. en.o+e. +ith the eterna) righteo'sness, )i*e, an. sa)(ation o* its H'sban. Christ Th's He -resents to Hi&se)* a g)orio's bri.e, +itho't s-ot or +rin/)e, c)eansing her +ith the +ashing o* +ater by the +or.0 that is, by *aith in the +or. o* )i*e, righteo'sness, an. sa)(ation Th's He betrothes her 'nto Hi&se)* @in *aith*')ness, in righteo'sness, an. in 3'.g&ent, an. in )o(ing:/in.ness, an. in &erciesA GHosea ii 1E, 2FH <ho then can (a)'e high)y eno'gh these roya) n'-tia)s= <ho can co&-rehen. the riches o* the g)ory o* this grace= Christ, that rich an. -io's H'sban., ta/es as a +i*e a nee.y an. i&-io's har)ot, re.ee&ing her *ro& a)) her e(i)s an. s'--)ying her +ith a)) His goo. things It is i&-ossib)e no+ that her sins sho'). .estroy her, since they ha(e been )ai. '-on Christ an. s+a))o+e. '- in Hi&, an. since she has in her H'sban. Christ a righteo'sness +hich she &ay c)ai& as her o+n, an. +hich she can set '- +ith con*i.ence against a)) her sins, against .eath an. he)), saying, @I* I ha(e sinne., &y Christ, in +ho& I be)ie(e, has not sinne.0 a)) &ine is His, an. a)) His is &ine,A as it is +ritten, @My be)o(e. is &ine, an. I a& HisA GCant ii 1?H This is +hat Pa') says5 @Than/s be to !o., +hich gi(eth 's the (ictory thro'gh o'r Lor. 2es's Christ,A (ictory o(er sin an. .eath, as he says, @The sting o* .eath is sin, an. the strength o* sin is the )a+A G1 Cor 9( >?, >CH

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Concerning Christian Liberty

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