For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
People who think they have a good understanding of the command to love are badly mistaken. To be sure, they have this command written on their hearts. By nature, they know that they should do to others what they want done to them (Matthew 7:12). That doesn’t mean they truly understand it; otherwise they would also show it in their actions and prefer love above other works. They wouldn’t make such a big deal about their antics and superstitions, which amount to nothing. Some examples of such behavior include walking around with a sad face and hanging head, being celibate, eating only bread and water, living in the desert, dressing shabbily, and so on. These are strange and superstitious works, which they choose for themselves and which God neither commands nor accepts. They consider these works so glorious and holy that they cast a dark shadow over love, which is the sun that shines over all works. The blindness of human reason is so limitless and incomprehensible that reason cannot come to a correct understanding of faith, much less make correct judgments about life and works.
Therefore, we must strongly resist our own opinions. In matters of salvation, we by nature would rather base our opinions on our hearts than on the Word of God. We also should strongly object to the mask and halo of self-chosen works. Instead, we must learn to value our calling and the responsibilities that go with it. Although these works may appear puny and contemptible, they are commanded by God. In contrast, we should despise the works that reason chooses to do apart from God’s command no matter how glorious, meaningful, great, or holy they appear.
Barnas Sears, D.D.
Controversial and visionary, Luther’s life is revealed in this rare presentation of his work as an educator and church leader. From his birth and childhood, to his religious education, and the events leading up to the Protestant Reformation, you will discover the views and experiences that led to his excommunication by the Pope in 1520. Correspondence and accounts shed further light on Luther’s defiant translation of the Bible from Latin to the language of the common man.
This unique biography is reproduced from an 1850 American Sunday School Union original, and in it you will be introduced to the pivotal life of this enigmatic man before, during, and after one of Christianity’s defining events.