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On Christian Liberty (Facets) Paperback – April 1, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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From the Publisher

This timeless little classic communicates essential teachings of Martin Luther

About the Author

Martin Luther was the founder of the Protestant Reformation. He remains a pivotal figure in Western history.
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Product Details

  • Series: Facets
  • Paperback: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800636074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800636074
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.3 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William E. Turner Jr. on April 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Before being set free by the reading of Romans 1:17, Martin Luther was enslaved to the bondage of works righteousness. He was acutely aware of his need for salvation but sought it through the means of works instead of finding it through faith in Christ. Upon discovering the "righteousness of God" Luther was set free from his bondage and was able to become a slave to Christ. It is this freedom of the gospel, which Luther sets forth as being the freedom for the Christian. Through faith alone a believer is justified in Christ and set free to live a life of obedience compelled by the love of Christ. Thus freedom to service through the gospel of Christ is at the heart of Luther's treatise The Freedom of a Christian.
He begins the work by summarizing the Christian life in paradoxical fashion. He writes, "A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all, subject to none." And he continues by stating, "A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to none." Luther correctly believed that these two assertions, although seemingly contradictory, are nonetheless biblical and he seeks to show how they work together in the rest of this treatise.
It is only through faith alone in the gospel of Jesus Christ whereby one is saved and is given the free gift of Christ's righteousness and the perfect freedom found in being united with Christ. Thus the only thing necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom is the Word of God, which is the gospel. Without the Word of God there is no help for the soul. Yet a soul that has the Word of God is found lacking nothing.
Luther's work asserts the underlining truth of the Christian life: that we are freed through the death of Christ to service.
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Martin Luther's treatise "Christian Liberty" (or "The Freedom of a Christian") is perhaps the most powerful and concise presentation of the Christian life ever written. I cannot recommend this work highly enough. I rank this among the very best of Luther's works (and that is really saying something). If an inexpensive copy were still in publication I would buy every copy to give as gifts to friends and family. The power, discernment, brevity and readability of this work make a true gem among Reformation writings (and Christian writings in general). Here you will find the essence of the spirit of the Reformation distilled into a guide for practical, biblical living.

With the clarity and bold authority of a true prophet, Luther sets forth the whole of the Christian life in two theses: "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all." We are free from sin and the law (subject to none) but slaves to Christ in love (subject to all). As Paul writes in Romans 6:22, "But now...you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God."

Luther writes as a shepherd of the common people and the tone and content differ greatly from his better-known debate-oriented works (ie. Bondage of the Will, 95 Theses). The doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is the heart and soul of Luther's message, founded upon a firm conviction in the authority of scripture alone.

He writes, "One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ.
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This powerful little book is a solid, one-two punch from Luther about the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church at the time. It is an excellent synopsis of grace and the freedom of Christians. Where we were once enslaved by sin and could do nothing good, when saved by Grace, God is able to work good through us. That is, when saved, we are then truly free.

The second punch, if you will, is the letter Luther sent to Pope Leo X wherein he tells the pope that Luther is a friend of the church but speaks out against the sacreligious and sinful Indulgences being sold to masses by those around the Pope. Luther debunks the notion that we can buy our own salvation.

I'd recommend that you read the introduction, then the letter, then the actual essay, and THEN reread the letter to the Pope because it will speak so much louder.
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On Christian Liberty by Martin Luther. Easy to read, historically important, theologically significant. Luther's words to Pope Leo X and his accompanying treatise `on Christian liberty' are very bold, especially given their historical and cultural content; his words, at times, border on being brash. This book is worth reading, especially given its historical significance and the fact that it succinctly summarizes Luther's thoughts on justification. Why read about Luther's thoughts from either his detractors or defenders, when you easily can read his translated works?

In this short work on Liberty, Luther sets forth the whole of the Christian life in two theses: "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all."

Other notably quotes, for me, that also represent major streams within this book are: 1) "One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ." 2) The "wedding ring of faith" unites believers to Christ. 3) "So let him who wishes to do good works begin not with the doing of works, but with believing, which makes the person good, for nothing makes a man good except faith, or evil except unbelief."
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