Luther on Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)

 Here are some great words from Luther on salvation by grace alone.  These quotes are from a sermon on Titus 3:4-8 and can be found in volume 3 of Baker’s 7-volume set of Luther’s sermons (edited by J. N. Lenker and others).

 “So he [Paul in Titus 3:5-7] discards all boasted free will, all human virtue, righteousness, and good works.  He concludes that they are all nothing and are wholly perverted, however brilliant and worthy they may appear, and teaches that we must be saved solely by the grace of God, which is effective for all believers who desire it from a correct conception of their own ruin and nothingness.”

 “Yes, dear friend, you must first possess heaven and salvation before you can do good works.  Works never merit heaven; heaven is conferred purely of grace.”

 “The delusive doctrine of works blinds the Christian’s eyes, perverts a right understanding of faith, and forces him from the way of truth and salvation.”

 “He who does not receive salvation purely through grace, independently of all good works, certainly will never secure it.”

 “Truly, then, we are saved by grace alone, without works or other merit.”

 “Notice [from John 3:16], all who believe have eternal life.  That being true, believers certainly are just and holy without works.  Works contribute nothing to justification.  It is effected by pure grace richly poured out upon us.”

 “We receive absolution [forgiveness] and grace at no cost or labor on our part, but not without cost and labor on the part of Christ.”

 “Our salvation must exist, not in our righteousness, but…in Christ’s righteousness. …Let his righteousness and grace, not yours, be your refuge.”

Reminds me of the great hymn by H. Bonar that we sing in the liturgy after the absolution (assurance of pardon): “Thy grace alone O God / to me can pardon speak; / thy power alone O Son of God / can this sore bondage break! / No other work save thine; / no other blood will do / no strength save that which is divine can bear me safely through!”

shane lems

4 thoughts on “Luther on Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)”

  1. Hey,

    I love the quote but cannot find it in volume 3. Do you have the title of the sermon or the page number of the quote?


  2. Your title ‘Grace Alone’ drew me to this site. What a needed reminder it is in our everyday day life of service to rely on Christ’s works instead of self worth and self edification. I’m very excited to have been lead to your site! I shall visit often. If I may, with your permission, I’d like to add your site to my blog. Thanks for your consideration.
    In Christ,


    1. Richard – it is in volume three, page 142 of the second half of the book – I think the reference looks like this: 3.2.142. By the way, I made a topical index of these sermons – they are here.

      Dean – thanks for the visit, and greetings! Feel free to link as you wish.



  3. “We receive absolution [forgiveness] and grace at no cost or labor on our part, but not without cost and labor on the part of Christ.”

    Amen. We are saved by works – the work of Christ in fulfilling the conditions of the covenant of redemption. Christ merited grace for us by his obedient death.


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