In this reading Martin Luther discusses issues within the church and his personal opinions on said issues. The beginning of this work starts by discussing salvation, where one will go when they leave this earth. Martin Luther feels that God gives individuals the opportunity to live an eternal life with him in heaven or to be sent to an eternal life of destruction based on ungodliness. He then discusses faith versus good works.
According to Luther, a man who is without Christ might as well be participating in idolatry.
Those who preach that the good works are a step to one’s salvation are liars. The gospel says no such thing. Nothing good comes from the law, because one is forced and in turn the works do not come from the heart and are therefore unacceptable.A person of authority in the church would have a person dress a certain way and requires one to attend mass, do certain works, pray, go without food, or give offerings in response to salvation.
But according to Luther a true Christian knows that the only way they receive salvation is through faith in Christ, and faith in Christ only. Next he tackles the subject of Christian worship. He says it should not be deceiving and that worship that appears to be put on a show is not desirable to God. Luther talks about the bible. He compares it to that of a two edged sword, criticizing people for listening to teachers instead of reading the word themselves and taking it purely in with no others’ added opinions.
He calls the papist ungodly and states that they care more about personal authority in the church than they do for God’s word. He rebukes this greatly saying even that it is blasphemy.
This leads to the discussion of ”the papacy and monastic orders”(Luther). Popes, in his opinion, are uneducated in the gospel, have not read the scriptures, and do not mention or teach of God’s word at all. They are head of the churches for personal gain with no regard or thought to God and his will. Luther tells a story about a man who was on his death bed, unable to speak even, and was visited by a monk. The monk who could see that the man was close to death, asked him for donations for his monastery. Proceeding this story are several more examples of how leaders in various churches are deceiving and out for personal gain. He very clearly believes that popes or priests praise acts and mass as opposed to God himself. He calls them out for idolatry and concludes that with such little regard to the bible and God himself, popes are incapable of reformation and are mere idiots.
Luther believed that every person had the opportunity to go to heaven or hell, but he believed that this was nothing to do with personal works. Luther says that, “a true Christian says: I am justified and saved only by faith in Christ, without any works or merits of my own..” (Luther). Based off of this excerpt alone, I would say that the phrase “scripture alone” refers to how Martin Luther believes that salvation is obtained only through Christ and how he seems to stray away from any teachings that contain opinions. He wants to go straight to the unbiased source, scripture.
Luther rejects the papacy and monastic orders, including popes, monks, princes and kings. Luther criticizes the clergy in several ways. He starts with the outward hypocritical worship and proceeds on to the celebration of mass and rituals, the love of money and power in the church all being more important than God’s will.