The Freedom of a Christian and Treatise on Good Works
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In language study one faces the choice between learning about a language versus directly learning a language. If I learn about a language, I learn about its grammar, vocabulary, and syntax and about how each of these things is used. When I’m done, however, there’s no guarantee that I can use any of that to actually create and communicate my own meaning. If, however, I instead directly learn a language, when I’m done, I not only know about i t, but I can actually use it to create and communicate my own meaning. In carrying out my assignment, I had a decision to make. Should we learn about these treatises of Luther? Or should we learn them—directly? I opted for the latter, which means that by and large I will let Luther speak for himself, with lots of quotations.1We will follow what I will call the theological order of the treatises, not their chronological order. It’s in his treatise The Freedom of a Christian that Luther presents the biblical, reformation doctrine of justification by grace through faith. His treatise On Good Works speaks to the sanctified life of the believer that springs fundamentally from his justification through faith in Jesus.