Luther on Faith and Love

“The truth of the Gospel is this, that our righteousness comes by faith alone, without the works of the Law.  The falsification or corruption of the Gospel is this, that we are justified by faith, but not without the works of the Law.  The false apostles preached the Gospel, but they did so with this condition attached to it.  The scholastics do the same thing in our day.  They say that we must believe in Christ and that faith is the foundation of salvation, but they say that this faith does not justify unless it is ‘formed by love.’  This is not the truth of the Gospel; it is falsehood and pretense.  The true Gospel, however, is this: Works or love are not the ornament or perfection of faith; but faith itself is a gift of God, a work of God in our hearts, which justifies us because it takes hold of Christ as the Savior.  Human reason has the Law as its object….But faith in its proper function has no other object than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was put to death for the sins of the world.  It does not look at its love and say: ‘What have I done? Where have I sinned? What have I deserved?’  But it says: ‘What has Christ done? What has He deserved?’ ”  Martin Luther, “Lectures on Galatians (1535),” Luther’s Works vol. 26, p. 88

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