Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.* God help me. Amen.
Luther was therefore a framer of sola scriptura, for he stood on the authority of the Bible alone.
I think this t-shirt is awesome. It highlights Luther's theology of justification: simul iustus et peccator, "at the same time justified and a sinner."
There is something I love about celebrating Reformation Day. Maybe it's simply because I was raised in the Lutheran Church and come from German ethnic heritage. Maybe. But more than that, it's really because the message of God's free love and mercy upon sinners on account of Jesus' obedient life, ransoming death, and victorious resurrection alone--received through faith alone--is the best news there is. It puts vigor in a man's enfeebled steps. It pumps blood through closed veins. The news that sin doesn't win and that God needs no man's help to kick Satan's ass and free men from the grip of death is awesome stuff.
In celebration of the truth, here is Article 22 from the Belgic Confession, an awesome summary of Luther's (and the Reformation's) insight into the gospel, that we fully possess Jesus Christ by faith alone apart from our deeds.
Article 22: The Righteousness of Faith
We believe that for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith that embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and makes him its own, and no longer looks for anything apart from him.
For it must necessarily follow that either all that is required for our salvation is not in Christ or, if all is in him, then he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely.
Therefore, to say that Christ is not enough but that something else is needed as well is a most enormous blasphemy against God-- for it then would follow that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior. And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified "by faith alone" or by faith "apart from works."^53
However, we do not mean, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us-- for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness.
But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his merits and all the holy works he has done for us and in our place. And faith is the instrument that keeps us in communion with him and with all his benefits.
When those benefits are made ours they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins.
^53 Rom. 3:28
Previous posts: 2007, 2006, 2005.
* Some records add at this point, "Here I stand; I can do no other."