Martin Luther was born in Eisleben in 1483, the son of a rural mining family. He attended the Latin School in Mansfeld from 1488 onwards, continuing his schooling in Magdeburg and later in Eisenach. In 1501 Luther began his studies in Erfurt and intended to become a lawyer.
In 1505, however, he made a decision that changed the course of his life radically: he decided to enter the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. This decision shaped the rest of his life, and his search for a merciful God and God’s Will culminated in the development of the Reformation of the Church. Luther’s negative personal experiences with the ecclesiastical means of grace resulted in not only increasing criticism of the deplorable state of affairs within the church at that time but above all to a fundamental reconsideration of medieval theology.
His public criticism of the misuse of letters of indulgence in 1517 did not result in the desired discussion but led to the start of a court of inquisition culminating in Luther’s excommunication. Friedrich the Wise organized a “kidnapping” to protect Martin Luther’s life. Luther spent almost a year as Knight George on the Wartburg, where he translated the new testament into German.
Luther’s most obvious break with his monk’s vows ensued when he married the former nun Katharina von Bora in June 1525. The basic unit of the protestant parish house had been born. After the Peasants’ War in 1525, which Luther had disapproved of, the Reformer promoted the development of the protestant territorial church through visitations and church policies.
He died in Eisleben, the town of his birth, in February 1546. By order of the Elector, Luther was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Martin Luther is recognized by many as one of the principle figures in the Reformation of the Christian Church. His insight, his legacy lives on in the many tenants of the Reformed Faith addressed by his work. The brief writing below is Martin Luther’s description of “faith.” You can find more of his work at the following link.
“Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this `faith,’ either.
Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.
Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.”
“How soon not now becomes never.”
“Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging.”
“The fewer the words, the better the prayer.”
“The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider… the riders contend for its possession.”
“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”
“In our sad condition our only consolation is the expectancy of another life. Here below all is incomprehensible.”
“Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.”