Just as St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians has been called the Magna Carta of Christian freedom, so the Lectures on Galatians delivered by Martin Luther in 1531 and published for the first time in 1535 have been hailed as the great Reformer’s Magna Carta of Christian liberty. In Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners John Bunyan (1628-88), who was languishing in jail, told how a long time before this “the God, in whose hands are all days and ways, did cast into my hand, one day, a book of Martin Luther; it was his comment on the Galatians…this, methinks, I must let fall before all men, I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.” Luther treasured St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. Luther’s Lectures on the Galatians, like Paul’s letters, contain many distinctively autobiographical statements. In more than one respect these two men of God were kindred spirits. Both inveighed sharply and vigorously against their adversaries, but they also never lost sight of the Christian love that permeates the words of those who bring God’s message of salvation to their fellow men.
“Therefore we define a Christian as follows: A Christian is not someone who has no sin or feels no sin; he is someone to whom, because of his faith in Christ, God does not impute his sin.” (Volume 26, Page 133)
“Thus a Christian man is righteous and a sinner at the same time,49 holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God.” (Volume 26, Page 232)
“Paul is concerned to instruct, comfort, and sustain us diligently in a perfect knowledge of this most excellent and Christian righteousness. For if the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost. And those in the world who do not teach it are either Jews or Turks or papists or sectarians. For between these two kinds of righteousness, the active righteousness of the Law and the passive righteousness of Christ, there is no middle ground. Therefore he who has strayed away from this Christian righteousness will necessarily relapse into the active righteousness; that is, when he has lost Christ, he must fall into a trust in his own works.” (Volume 26, Page 9)
“For if we lose the doctrine of justification, we lose simply everything.” (Volume 26, Page 26)
“a ceremonial righteousness, which human traditions teach” (Volume 26, Page 4)