Luther and ‘sola gratia’: The Rapport Between Grace, Human Freedom, Good Works and Moral Life
Keywords: 
Luther
sola gratia
Human Freedom
Issue Date: 
2017
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Citation: 
O'Callaghan, Paul. "Luther and ‘sola gratia’: The Rapport Between Grace, Human Freedom, Good Works and Moral Life". Scripta Theologica. 49 (1), 2017, 193 - 212
Abstract
For Luther God is the center of the universe, before whom the created world is as nothing. That is why he uses the term «sola», ‘alone’, to express what has its roots in God’s action: sola gratia, sola fide, sola Scriptura, solus Christus. In this study we have considered the principle of sola gratia, in the context of its relationship to human freedom and response to grace. According to Lutheran theology humans respond to grace not by ‘giving’ anything back to God but by being grateful to him for the gifts received. Yet this may be considered a truly human action, which we can refuse to carry out. Gratitude is made concrete in the effort humans make to know and understand and listen to and accept the inner workings of divine gifts (creation, grace, etc.). Thus grace not only provides strength to fulfill God’s will, but at a more profound level heals the sinful ingratitude of humans and brings them to freely seek out and follow God’s will in everything, also by coming to know the gift of nature he has provided us with.

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