I repeat what I said before I answer you, and then ask do we have a contradiction. Or did Luther express things a little different than we do today and you are reaching and twisting to make those words fit your tradition and false teaching of Non-Calvinism. I say it is the latter. Even in what you wrote Luther is staying true to the Reformed Faith of Soteriology. The Spirit just has not opened your eyes to it. But it is ultimately what thus saith the Lord, or it is written.
“So what did Martin Luther believe?
“I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit’s kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavored nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerating, without ourselves…”
– Martin Luther from Bondage of the Will, pg. 268
Oh Brian, you set yourself up my friend and Brother in Christ. Martin Luther is saying the same thing that the Reformed believers/Calvinist. He does call it ” the work of faith in us” which is very scriptural language. Luther was very inconsistent in what he said a lot. I am sure you know that. Even with Limited Atonement, also known as Definite Atonement, or Particular Redemption or seemed to go back and forth on that. So for either of us to use Luther it would be a negative. Although my quotation clearly says Luther believes in Regeneration before faith and conversion to Christ/eternal life/ Your quotation which I am yet to research to check the veracity of it seems to imply about the faith being God’s work with in us. The Non-Calvinist would refute this until the day he died because they do not believe these three verses. Brian we cannnot cherry pick Martin Luther. He was not a Calvinist but he falls very much into the same camp and leans strongly to regeneration preceding faith and conversion. We must take the whole counsel of Luther, or a larger portion that just a quote from the introduction to hia commentary on Romans. After some Scriptures I explain down below if you are willing to read them you can have a field day of Luther’s quotes and then you will have to decide and I look to see if you will make a public retraction or not. Something I have never seen Brian do. Brian I have seen some well researched work on Academia. But you are blowing through this without using the gifts God has given you and I know you know what I mean my brother in Christ.
I found your quote, but only in what is called the preface to the Epistle of the Romans. Yes I give you my word the exact same words you quoted. Here is the link below. But why did you stop there Brian. The next couple of pararaghs would have cleared this confusion up. They have a word for this my brother now you have to make a public apology for taking Luther out of context. Or will pride be blind to itself, because it can manifest itself in many faces. I do not believe that of you Brian. You have always seemed to humble, godly and a man of God to me. The quote that comes after your quote is below.BUT YOU TOOK LUTHER OUT OF CONTEXT, AND YOU KNOW THAT IS A NO NO MY BROTHER IN CHRIST, HE ACTUALLY MEANTIONS ABOUT GOD CREATING FAITH WITHIN US. THAT WOULD BE GODWORKING FIRST BEFORE THE SINNER HAS FAITH AND BELIEVES IN CHRIST.
to the Romans
This English translation is taken from
the edition produced by
Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1966
” 16. On the contrary, faith is a divine work in us, which
transforms us, gives us a new birth out of God, John 1:13,
slays the old Adam, makes us altogether different men in
heart, affections, mind, and all powers, and brings with it the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is a living, energetic, active,
mighty thing, this faith. It cannot but do good unceas-ingly.
There is no question asked whether good works are to be
done, but before the question is asked the works have been
done, and there is a continuous doing of them. But any
person not doing such works is without faith. He is groping
in the dark, looking for faith and good works, and knows
neither what faith is nor what good works are, although he
indulges in a lot of twaddle and flummery concerning faith
and good works.
17. Faith is a living, daring confidence in the grace of
God, of such assurance that it would risk a thousand
deaths. This confidence and knowledge of divine grace
makes a person happy, bold, and full of gladness in his
relation to God and all creatures. The Holy Ghost is doing
this in the believer. Hence it is that a person, without
constraint, becomes willing and enthusiastic to do good to
everybody, to serve everybody, to suffer all manner of
afflictions, from love of God and to the praise of Him who
has extended such grace to him. Accordingly, it is impossible
to separate works from faith, just as impossible as it is to
separate the power to burn and shine from fire. Accordingly,
beware of your own false thoughts and of idle talkers, who
pretend great wisdom for discerning faith and good works
and yet are the greatest fools. Pray God that He may create
faith in you; otherwise you will be without faith for ever and
aye, no matter what you may plan and do.
2 Thessalians 1:11 – for which also we pray always for you, that He may count you worthy of the calling of our God, and He may fulfill every good pleasure of goodness and work of faith with power,
It is not a “work of faith to us” It is God the Holy Spirit’s work of faith within us that he will complete and bring it to fruition in power, not by the mythical idol of free will or human effort, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God dwelling richly within us.
John 6:29 – Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
I used the biased Calvinist Bible on that one. The ESV. I hope that is ok. JK 🙂
Philippians 1:29 -For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Brian my friend and brother in Christ, you know what is so cool about Philippians 1:29. I know you can check it out yourself. I have read many Greek Scholars now and checked out in the Intinleaner Bible on Biblehub and my own personal one. The word translated into English “believe” from the Greek is the word is “pisteuw” It means it is a gift of God’s grace, the word is intimately related to the Greek word that can be found in 1 Corinthian 12. Where the Word of God talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, so that means there was a time when the wicked sinner did not have saving faith until the Sword of the Spirit worked powerfully in his life. Yes, the Power Holy Spirit in intimate connection with the preaching and proclamation of the gospel.
2 Thessalanions 3:2 – And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.
Simple Brian, Evil, wicked and perverse sinners do not have within them innate saving faith as Ephesians 2 declares that while we were still dead in trespasses and sins God quicked and made us alive in Christ Jesus. It does say we believed before he quickened us and made us alive. It says he did this while we were spiritually dead in sin doing spiritually sinful activities. Not corspe dead. Please tell Dr. Flowers to stop saying that, he does not understand the analogy and thus he Misrepresents.
Read this slowly and prayfully Brian I beseech you in Christ
2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
See Brian there is there is spiritually dead activity in sin revealed in these verses before we came to Christ. It also reveals were we made alive while we were still dead in sin, not in a state of believing but walking and fullfulling the lust of the flesh. It goes on to conversion, “by His Mercy he saved us. Then we are saved by grace though faith, it is the gift of God, not of free will or of works lest any Non-Calvinist should boast. It goes on to say We are “his very own workmanship created in Christ Jesus, for good works, sanctification, becoming like Christ which we have been predestined to, and this being created by God and being his very own workmanship for good works was prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The word “beforehand” in verse 10 means “hath before ordained” or prepared I will concede to that. But he chose us in Christ from all eternity that we should be Holy and Blameless in love.
Acts 13:48 – 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying [praising and giving thanks for] the word of the Lord; and all those who had been appointed (designated, ordained) to eternal life [by God] believed [in Jesus as the Christ and their Savior].
Every major translation we have says something to this extent, that those who were “appointed or designated to eternal life believed.
But to get around this, the Non-Calvinist espousing the Pelagianism heresy in mistaken ignorance (still my brother in Christ) have got into bed with the JW. Their translation reads “disposed” and that I know is what is pushed here on Soteriology101 at the peril and wrongfully dividing the Word of God.
Now for Martin Luther briefly and then I am done:
In Bondage of the Will, 2.8, Luther denies that God compels or forces people to convert: “When God works in us, the will is changed under the sweet influence of the Spirit of God. . . . it desires and acts, not of compulsion, but of its own desire and spontaneous inclination.” But, of course, the most famous (or notorious) thing about his Bondage of the Will is Luther’s denial that we initiate this change: “our salvation is not of our own strength or counsel, but depends on the working of God alone.” Further, “man’s will is like a beast standing between two riders. If God rides, it wills and goes where God wills . . . . If Satan rides, it wills and goes where Satan wills. Nor may it choose to which rider it will run, or which it will seek; but the riders themselves fight to decide who shall have and hold it” (2.8).”
The best book in English on this thorny set of issues in early Lutheran dogmatics is Robert Kolb, Bound Choice, Election, and Wittenberg Theological Method: From Martin Luther to the Formula of Concord (Eerdmans, 2005).
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Art. 2: “people resist God the Lord with their will until they are converted. . . . they resist the Word and will of God until God awakens them from the death of sin and enlightens and renews them. Although God does not force human beings in such a way that they must become godly (for those who persistently resist the Holy Spirit and stubbornly struggle against what is recognized truth, as Stephen said of the obdurate Jews in Acts 7:51, will not be converted), nonetheless God the Lord draws those people whom he wants to convert and does so in such a way that an enlightened understanding is fashioned out of a darkened understanding and an obedient will is fashioned out of a rebellious will. Scripture calls this creating a new heart. . . . God makes willing people out of rebellious and unwilling people through the drawing power of the Holy Spirit, and . . . after this conversion of the human being the reborn will is not idle in the daily practice of repentance but cooperates in all the works of the Holy Spirit that he accomplishes through us.”
Luther’s language is a little different than us, but he most definitely sides with the Calvinist. At first he through the secret working of the Holy Spirit the sinner is idle, but after conversion, there is Holiness and good works of love etc,
I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit’s kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves…”
Martin Luther fromThe Bondage of the Will (pg. 268)
“If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.”
When God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed upon by the Spirit of God, desire and acts, not from compulsion, but responsively.
“Let all the ‘free-will’ in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength.” – Martin Luther
“A man who has no part in the grace of God, cannot keep the commandments of God, or prepare himself, either wholly or in part, to receive grace; but he rests of necessity under the power of sin.”- Martin Luther
“It is false that the will, left to itself, can do good as well as evil, for it is not free, but in bondage…On the side of man there is nothing that goes before grace, unless it be impotency and even rebellion.”- Martin Luther
“He that will maintain that man’s free will is able to do or work anything in spiritual cases, be they never so small, denies Christ.” – Martin Luther, Table Talk
“Even like as St. Paul was converted, just so are all others converted; for we all resist God, but the Holy Ghost draws the will of mankind, when he pleases, through preaching.”- Martin Luther
“God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Free-will” is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces.”- Martin Luther
All quotes are from the Bondage of the will unless noted otherwise.