Theology from A Bunch of Dead Guys
"Therefore we conclude that
a man is justified by faith
without the deeds of the law"
artin Luther dealt the symbolic blow that began the Reformation when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. That document contained an attack on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences by church officials.
But Luther himself saw the Reformation as something far more important than a revolt against ecclesiastical abuses. He believed it was a fight for the gospel. Luther even stated that he would have happily yielded every point of dispute to the Pope, if only the Pope had affirmed the gospel.
And at the heart of the gospel, in Luther's estimation, was the doctrine of justification by faiththe teaching that Christ's own righteousness is imputed to those who believe, and on that ground alone, they are accepted by God.
That doctrine, often called the Material Principle of the Reformation, is what the apostle Paul taught as well: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).