Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
What does it mean to come to the Father? It means nothing else but to come from death to life, from sin and condemnation to innocence and godliness, from distress and sorrow to eternal joy and blessedness. Christ is saying, “No one should try to come to the Father through a different way than me. I alone am the way and truth and the life.” Christ clearly rules out and powerfully disproves all teaching that salvation can be obtained by works. He completely denies that we can get to heaven by any other way. For Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no other way.
Salvation can be obtained only by a faith that clings to Christ. No works of ours—or of any other person or saint—can have this same honor. On the other hand, we shouldn’t think that we don’t have to do good works. Rather, we must first come to Christ in order to receive God’s mercy and eternal life. After that, we should do good works and show love. We should make this distinction clear. We should never consider the way we live or the works we do as powerful enough to take us up to the Father.
Though everyone else may abandon me and leave me lying in ruins, I will still have an eternal treasure that can never fail me. This measure isn’t the result of my own works or efforts. The treasure is Christ—the way, the truth, and the life. Only through Christ do I come to the Father. I will hold to this, live by this, and die by this.
95 Theses are reproduced in their entirety, with an introduction and explanatory notes to aid readers in discerning the significance of Luther’s call to reformation.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.