RPM, Volume 14, Number 29, July 15 to July 21, 2012

The Bondage of the Will


By   Martin Luther    


Section CXXXIII.


  Sect. CXXXIII. — HERE, I bring to a conclusion, THE DEFENCE OF MY SCRIPTURES WHICH THE DIATRIBE ATTEMPTED TO REFUTE; lest my book should be swelled to too great a bulk: and if there be anything yet remaining that is worthy of notice, it shall be taken into THE FOLLOWING PART; WHEREIN, I MAKE MY ASSERTIONS. For as to what Erasmus says in his conclusion — ‘that, if my sentiments stand good, the numberless precepts, the numberless threatenings, the numberless promises, are all in vain, and no place is left for merit or demerit, for rewards or punishments; that moreover, it is difficult to defend the mercy, nay, even the justice of God, if God damn sinners of necessity; and that many other difficulties follow, which have so troubled some of the greatest men, as even to utterly overthrow them,’ —

To all these things I have fully replied already. Nor will I receive or bear with that moderate medium, which Erasmus would (with a good intention, I believe,) recommend to me; — ‘that we should grant some certain little to “Free-will;” in order that, the contradictions of the Scripture, and the difficulties before mentioned, might be the more easily remedied.’ — For by this moderate medium, the matter is not bettered, nor is any advantage gained whatever. Because, unless you ascribe the whole and all things to “Free-will,” as the Pelagians do, the ‘contradictions’ in the Scriptures are not altered, merit and reward are taken entirely away, the mercy and justice of God are abolished, and all the difficulties which we try to avoid by allowing this ‘certain little ineffective power’ to “Free-will,” remain just as they were before; as I have already fully shewn. Therefore, we must come to the plain extreme, deny “Free-will” altogether, and ascribe all unto God! Thus, there will be in the Scriptures no contradictions; and if there be any difficulties, they will be borne with, where they cannot be remedied.

This article is provided as a ministry of Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill). If you have a question about this article, please email our Theological Editor.

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