Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book Review

On Christian Liberty by Martin Luther

To tell you what I think of the book, I was in the middle of reading it when I stopped and went to Amazon and ordered 5 copies for our church book table. I also plan to give a few away to people I believe would benefit from its contents.
Luther expounds the idea that Christians are liberated (free) from sin and death,
"Our faith in Christ does not free us from works but from false opinions concerning works."

He again and again assaults the notion that our justification comes from works,
"God cannot be worshiped unless you ascribe to him the glory of truthfulness and all goodness which is due Him. This cannot be done by works but only by the faith of the heart. Not by the doing of works but by believing do we glorify God and acknowledge that he is truthful."

Brilliantly explains how this does not give us license for vice but frees us to love our neighbor.

"I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary , profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ."

If I had to choose a favorite part of the book, it would be his brilliant explanation of how to live in this world as being free in Christ but bound to love all men. He uses the example of how Paul had Timothy circumcised because of the weak Jews, young in the faith, but refused to circumcise Titus because older Jews were requiring it for salvation.

This principle applies to so many things to Christians today as we attempt to navigate every issue that causes division, church splits, and denominations.
"The Christian must take a middle course and face those two classes of men. He will meet first the unyielding, stubborn ceremonialists who like deaf adders are not willing to hear the truth of liberty (Ps 58:4) but, having no faith, boast of, prescribe, and insist upon their ceremonies as means of justification. Such were the Jews of old, who were unwilling to learn how to do good. These he must resist, do the very opposite, and offend them boldly lest by their impious views they drag many with them into error."

Another quote that made me laugh out loud comes after he has explained his two theses:

"Finally, something must be added for the sake of those for whom nothing can be said so well that they will not spoil it by misunderstanding it. It is questionable whether they will understand even what will be said here."

You do yourself a disservice in not reading this book.

No comments: