Martin Luther

Page 1 of 5

Martin Luther

By | December 2012
Page 1 of 5
Ch. 18 Question 2: What did Luther mean by justification by faith? How did he come to this idea?
Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer and possibly one of the most influential theologians ever, developed the idea of justification by faith through grace. Martin Luther had been searching for salvation, but had no luck. He had become a monk in trying to guarantee his salvation. He seemed dedicated living his life as a monk, but the holy life of a monk did not bring him the assurance of salvation he was seeking. After teaching and lecturing at the University of Wittenberg, Luther gradually started to understand God and God’s relationship to humanity. From this gradual understanding Luther created the statement of justification by grace through faith. What Luther meant by justification by grace through faith is the process of God justifying sinners through the faith of Christ. Luther had a central question: “How can miserable, sinful humans ‘be put with’ a holy, righteous God?” At first he seemed terrified by the thought of the righteousness of God because “he understood it to refer to the holiness and perfection of God, and he hated this righteous of God who punishes unrighteous sinners.” The origin of justification by grace through faith can be traced by as far as the Apostles. Paul was the main apostle that first introduced this idea. Luther studied Paul’s letters and discovered many new ideas of justification through the faith of God. From Paul’s letters he learned: “We stand guilty and condemned before the throne of God, as Apostle Paul said, "There is no one righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:10) "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)  "Now we know that what ever the law says, it is to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God." (Romans 3:19).” According to the Ten Commandments it requires us to be perfect, but Paul came to the conclusion that it’s simply...