Luther’s Definition of The Ideal Christian Life
Luther has a very specific idea of what the ideal Christian life should look like. The instructions and guidelines for the life of a Christian are clearly presented in Luther’s writings with references to the Bible. Luther writes, “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.” (Modern History Sourcebook: Martin Luther: On the Freedom of a Christian) The Christian man is free in the sense that his spirit is free because his sins are wiped clean and forgiven when he receives salvation in Christ. A Christian man is called a dutiful servant because he diligently strives to grow and strengthen his faith in Christ. According to Luther, a strong faith is the foundation and necessity for a good Christian life.
Luther defines a true Christian as “a spiritual, new, and inward man.” Luther makes it clear that no outward or bodily actions are connected with the “liberty or the slavery of the soul.” No evil bodily or external works will injure the soul. Nor will any pure external actions or works save the soul. The most important thing for Christian salvation is the Bible, or as Luther refers to it, “the most holy word of God, the Gospel of Christ.” In order for the soul to be saved, we need the word of God, nothing more.
In order to receive salvation, one must have faith in the word of God and “preach Christ”. To “preach Christ” is to teach and minister about Jesus, who He is and what He did. Luther clearly tells us that no works can bring about salvation. He depicts an ideal Christian as one with great faith in God’s Word. In order to live a Christian life, one must look to Christ and place faith in Him. By having faith, one may receive forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the salvation of humanity.
Rather than focusing on doing good deeds and making good choices, a good Christian...