Church Ceremonies Have No Effect on Salvation
In this mediated message, Martin Luther explains that church ceremonies have no effect on salvation and do not make a person in any way at one with God. For related information, go to this page .
Luther Declares That the Observance of the Ceremonies Which the Lutheran Church Still Uses in Its Worship Is Not Approved of by God or by Jesus
I AM HERE. Martin Luther.
I desire to write a short message tonight on the subject: “The Observance of the Ceremonies Which My Church Still Uses in Its Worship Is Not Approved of by God or by Jesus.” I will not detain you very long and will try to express myself as succinctly as possible.
Well, as you may not know, the church of which I am the founder believes and teaches the necessity of infant baptism and the observance of the “Lord’s Supper” as necessary parts of its church doctrine, and that they are of such very great importance that, without them, it is difficult to become an accepted member of the invisible church of Christ.
NOTHING IS FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH THAN THIS DOCTRINE OF THE BAPTISM OF INFANTS, FOR IT HAS NO VIRTUE TO SAVE ONE FROM HIS SINS OR TO MAKE HIM IN AT-ONEMENT WITH THE FATHER. AND THE MERE FACT THAT WATER IS SPRINKLED ON AN INFANT’S HEAD, AND SOME BLESSING PRONOUNCED BY THE PREACHER, DOES NOT IN ANY WAY BRING THAT INFANT IN UNISON WITH THE FATHER. BAPTISM IS OF MAN’S CREATION, AND IT MEANS NOTHING MORE TO GOD THAN AN OUTWARD CEREMONY THAT AFFECTS THE INFANT MERELY AS REGARDS ITS CONNECTION WITH THE ESTABLISHED EARTHLY CHURCH. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR THIS BAPTISM TO HAVE ANY EFFECT UPON THE SOUL OF THE INFANT. AND NEITHER DOES IT OPEN UP THE SOUL FACULTIES TO THE INFLOWING OF THE DIVINE LOVE.
GOD CARES NOT FOR THESE CEREMONIES, AND RATHER LOOKS UPON THEM WITH DISAPPROVAL. FOR THEIR TENDENCY IS TO MAKE MEN AND WOMEN NEGLECTFUL OF THE GREAT TRUTH THAT WILL BRING THEM IN HARMONY WITH GOD’S LAWS OF LOVE AND REDEMPTION.
AND THE SAME THING MAY BE SAID OF ANY AND ALL KINDS OF BAPTISM, WHETHER THE SUBJECT THEREOF BE AN INFANT OR A GROWN MAN OR WOMAN.
AS TO THE SACRAMENT OF THE “LORD’S SUPPER”, IT HAS NO PART IN GOD’S PLAN FOR THE REDEMPTION OF MANKIND, AND IS MERELY A REMINDER OF THE ASSOCIATION OF JESUS WITH HIS DISCIPLES. IT CANNOT AFFECT THE CONDITION OR DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUL; AND, AS NOW UNDERSTOOD AND PRACTICED, THIS SACRAMENT IS OF NO IMPORTANCE. FOR JESUS DOES NOT WANT TO BE REMEMBERED IN THE WAY OF RECALLING TO HIM THE TRAGEDY ON THE CROSS, WHICH WAS ONLY THE RESULT OF THE MALICE AND ENVY OF SOME OF THE JEWS. AND THE BLOOD SPILT IS NOT AN ELEMENT THAT ENTERS INTO THE PLAN OF THE SALVATION OF MEN. AND, BESIDES, WITH THIS SACRAMENT, THERE IS ALWAYS MORE OR LESS WORSHIPING OF JESUS AS GOD, WHICH HE, JESUS, ABHORS AND LOOKS UPON AS BLASPHEMY.
SO, YOU SEE, THE CELEBRATION OF THE LAST SUPPER IS A THING WHICH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO GOD OR TO JESUS. HE DOES NOT WANT MEN TO BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN BE SAVED BY ANY SACRIFICE OF HIM, OR BY ANY BLOOD WHICH HE MAY HAVE SHED AS A RESULT OF HIS CRUCIFIXION.
Of course, you will remember that the question of what the wine and bread of the sacrament really were was one that engendered much controversy, and even hatred and ill-feeling on the part of those who were assisting me in the great Reformation. If I had known then what I do now, no such question would have been debated or believed in by me and taught for many years. The blood of Jesus was no more than any other man’s blood. And the commemoration of the “Last Supper” that Jesus gave his disciples before his death is a useless ceremony, and brings no help to those who indulge in this sacrament.
I see that you are tired and sleepy and I will not write more now. So, with my love and wishes for an increase of the Divine Love in you, I am
Your brother in Christ, LUTHER.
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: James Newcombe from unsplash.com
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