"It neither fears nor loves nor trusts in God; it smugly despises Him. It is moved neither by His threats nor by His promises. It is not delighted by His words or His deeds. Instead, it murmurs against Him, is angry with Him, judges and hates God. In short, it is 'hostile to God' (Rom. 8:7) and does not attribute glory to Him. If this vicious beast—that is, reason—were killed, all outward and coarse sins would be nothing.
Therefore the first thing to be done is that through faith we kill unbelief, contempt and hatred of God, and the murmuring against His wrath, His judgment, and all the words and deeds of God; for then we kill reason. It can be killed by nothing else but faith, which believes God and thus attributes His glory to Him. It does this in spite of the fact that He speaks what seems foolish, absurd, and impossible to reason, and in spite of the fact that God depicts Himself otherwise than reason can either judge or grasp, namely, this way: 'If you wish to placate Me, do not offer Me your works and merits. But believe in Jesus Christ, My only Son, who was born, who suffered, who was crucified, and who died for your sins.' "

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:230,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:6

"If reason is not slaughtered, and if all the religions and forms of worship under heaven that have been thought up by men to obtain righteousness in the sight of God are not condemned, the righteousness of faith cannot stand.
When reason hears this, it is immediately offended and says: 'Then are good works nothing? Have I toiled and borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat (Matt. 20:12) for nothing?' This is the source of that revolt of the nations, kings, and princes against the Lord and against His Christ (Ps. 2:1–2). The pope with his monks does not want to give the impression of having erred; much less will he permit himself to be condemned. Likewise the Turk and others.
I have said this in interpretation of the sentence 'And it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' in order that the students of the Sacred Scriptures may understand how Christian righteousness is to be defined properly and accurately, namely, that it is a trust in the Son of God or a trust of the heart in God through Christ."

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:231,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:6

"[T]hese two things make Christian righteousness perfect: The first is faith in the heart, which is a divinely granted gift and which formally believes in Christ; the second is that God reckons this imperfect faith as perfect righteousness for the sake of Christ, His Son, who suffered for the sins of the world and in whom I begin to believe. On account of this faith in Christ God does not see the sin that still remains in me. For so long as I go on living in the flesh, there is certainly sin in me. But meanwhile Christ protects me under the shadow of His wings and spreads over me the wide heaven of the forgiveness of sins, under which I live in safety. This prevents God from seeing the sins that still cling to my flesh. My flesh distrusts God, is angry with Him, does not rejoice in Him, etc. But God overlooks these sins, and in His sight they are as though they were not sins. This is accomplished by imputation on account of the faith by which I begin to take hold of Christ; and on His account God reckons imperfect righteousness as perfect righteousness and sin as not sin, even though it really is sin."

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:231,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:6

"[W]e live under the curtain of the flesh of Christ (Heb. 10:20). He is our 'pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night' (Ex. 13:21), to keep God from seeing our sin. And although we see it and feel remorse of conscience, still we keep running back to Christ, our Mediator and Propitiator, through whom we reach completion and are saved. In Him is everything; in Him we have everything; and He supplies everything in us. On His account God overlooks all sins and wants them to be covered as though they were not sins. He says: 'Because you believe in My Son, even though you have sins, they shall be forgiven, until you are completely absolved from them by death.'

Let Christians strive to learn completely and perfectly this doctrine of Christian righteousness, which the sophists neither understand nor are able to understand. But let them not suppose that they can learn it thoroughly all at once. Therefore let them make the effort to read Paul often and with the greatest diligence. Let them compare the first with the last; in fact, let them compare Paul as a whole with himself."

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:232,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:6

"Christian righteousness consists in two things: first, in faith, which attributes glory to God; secondly, in God’s imputation. For because faith is weak, as I have said, therefore God’s imputation has to be added. That is, God does not want to impute the remnant of sin and does not want to punish it or damn us for it. But He wants to cover it and to forgive it, as though it were nothing, not for our sakes or for the sake of our worthiness or works but for the sake of Christ Himself, in whom we believe.
Thus a Christian man is righteous and a sinner at the same time, holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God. None of the sophists will admit this paradox, because they do not understand the true meaning of justification. This was why they forced men to go on doing good works until they would not feel any sin at all. By this means they drove to the point of insanity many men who tried with all their might to become completely righteous in a formal sense but could not accomplish it. And innumerable persons even among the authors of this wicked dogma were driven into despair at the hour of death, which is what would have happened to me if Christ had not looked at me in mercy and liberated me from this error."

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:232,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:6

"If you want to be justified by the Law, your father Abraham ought to have been justified by the Law even more. But Abraham could neither be justified nor receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit except by faith. Since this is true according to the testimony of Scripture, why do you contend so for the Law and for circumcision, and maintain that you have righteousness and salvation through the Law, when Abraham himself, who was your father, your source, and your head, and in whom you boast, was justified and saved without the Law, by faith alone?” What reply can be made to this argument?
Therefore Paul concludes with the sentence: 'It is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.' Descent by blood or physical procreation does not create sons of Abraham in the sight of God. 'Of this Abraham,' he says, 'who is the servant of God and whom God has chosen and justified by faith, no one is regarded as a son in the sight of God on the basis of physical procreation.' "

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:236,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:7

"If I perish, no great harm is done. But if I let God’s Word perish and remain silent, then I do harm to God and to the whole world."

-- Martin Luther, Complete Sermons of Martin Luther Vol 1.1 , tr. Lenker, “Lent”, pg 175-176

"Faith is nothing else but the truth of the heart, that is, the right knowledge of the heart about God. But reason cannot think correctly about God; only faith can do so. A man thinks correctly about God when he believes God’s Word. But when he wants to measure and to believe God apart from the Word, with his own reason, he does not have the truth about God in his heart and therefore cannot think or judge correctly about Him. Thus when a monk supposes that his cowl, his tonsure, and his vows please God, that these make him acceptable, and that grace and eternal life are granted to him for these, he does not have a true idea about God; he has an idea that is wicked and a lie. Thus truth is faith itself, which judges correctly about God, namely, that God does not look at our works and our righteousness, since we are unclean, but that He wants to be merciful to us, to look at us, to accept us, to justify us, and to save us if we believe in His Son, whom He has sent to be the expiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). This is the true idea about God, and it is really nothing other than faith itself. By my reason I cannot understand or declare for certain that I am accepted into grace for the sake of Christ, but I hear this announced through the Gospel and take hold of it by faith."

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:238,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:7



"[T]he faith of the patriarchs was the same as ours (Acts 15:10–11; 1 Cor. 10:4). Christ testifies to this in the case of Abraham when He says in John 8:56: 'Abraham rejoiced that he was to see My day; he saw it and was glad.' Yet the faith of the patriarchs was attached to the Christ who was to come, just as ours is attached to the One who has already come. In his own time Abraham was justified by faith in the Christ who was to come; if he were living today, he would be justified by faith in the Christ now disclosed and present. Thus I said earlier that Cornelius first believed in the Christ who was to come, but that after he had been admonished by Peter, he believed that He had already come. Therefore diverse times do not alter faith or the Holy Spirit or His gifts. For there has always been and still is the same will and idea about Christ in the fathers of the past and in the sons of the present. Thus we also have a Christ who is to come, and we believe in Him just as the fathers in the Old Testament did. For we expect Him to come again on the Last Day with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; and we believe that He has already come for our salvation."

Martin Luther
Luther's Works, AE 26:239,
Lectures on Galatians, (1535)
Galatians 3:7

A MOMENT WITH LUTHER