Key Quotes From Luther's Bondage of the Will

The following quotes come from, what Luther saw as his most important work,"The Bondage of the Will". "De Servo Arbitrio" is the classic statement of the religion of faith. It is solidly rooted in Scripture. If Luther is correct in his thesis, then all religions predicated on human ability are woefully mistaken.

For context, Luther, is responding to some of Erasmus' assertions in support of man's natural moral ability to obey the gospel. Erasmus presupposed that all of God's commands to obey proved that we had the "free-will" or moral ability to do so. Erasmus would often ask, "if we can do nothing, what is the purpose of all the laws, precepts, threats and promises in the Bible? All these precepts are useless if nothing is attributed to the human will. If it is not in the power of every man to keep what is commanded, all the exhortations of Scripture are of necessity useless,"  In response, Luther, with great wit and irony exposes why Erasmus position on free will is an erroneous, unscriptural doctrine which, ultimately, undermines the gospel itself.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:16 -- john_hendryx

The Wisdom of the Age

The wisdom of the age has it backwards. Declaring that a person is a sinner does not make one a hater, but a lover of that person ... and of mankind. Do Christians point out sin to shame, bully or incite violence against someone? Absurd and a profound misapprehension of our intent. In calling someone a sinner do Christians think they are superior, more moral? May it never be! Most people's sin pales in comparison to mine. Fact is, it would only be hate or discrimination if we refused the gospel to someone because we thought their sin makes them somehow unworthy of it. The gospel declares that anyone who, by the grace of God, comes to Christ will be forgiven, no matter how abominable their sin. And such are granted a new heart which loves God and his law.

The gospel is offensive, and according to the Bible, a stumbling block (Matt 21:44; 1 Cor 1:23; 1 Pet. 2:8). If people were not offended by it then I would think we were doing something wrong. Of course, we should not make ourselves needlessly offensive in the process. But I thank the Lord he is forgiving, or I would not stand a chance on my own. And He will forgive you if, by grace, you come to Jesus. He has come to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. (Isaiah 61)

Related Essays
If God loves all people, why does he condemn gays? by John Hendryx
But God Made Me this Way! by John Frame
Duck Dynasty: ‘Going to shoot him? The woman? Me?’ by Marvin Olasky

Sat, 12/21/2013 - 12:24 -- john_hendryx

The Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by Jesus Himself (eBook)

by Rev. George Smeaton, D.D.

in .mobi, ePub & .pdf formats

The present volume is intended to be the first portion of a larger whole, which if completed, will exhibit the entire New Testament teaching on the subject of the atonement. I purposed to survey the whole testimony of our Lord and of His apostles; beginning with the former as fundamental. But as the subject grew in my hands, it was found necessary to reserve, in the meantime, the consideration of the apostolic testimony.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:35 -- john_hendryx

Flesh and Blood Has Not Revealed this to You & John 3:16

by John Hendryx

The commandments of God were never meant to empower us but to strip us of trusting in our own ability so that we would come to an end of ourselves. With striking clarity, Paul teaches that this is the intent of Divine legislation (Rom 3:20, 5:20, Gal 3:19,24).  A command or invitation with an open ended hypothetical statement such as John 3:16 ('whosover believes') does not imply the ability to fulfill it. This is especially true in light of texts such as John 1:13, Rom 9:16, John 6:37, 44, 63-65; Rom 3:11; Matt 16-26' 1 Cor 2:14 and many more which show man's moral inability to come to faith or believe the Gospel in their fallen state. In our unregenerate nature we do not want God but rather love darkness and "will not come into the light" * (John 3:19, 20).

If men are never found naturally willing to submit in faith to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ, then how can it be good news? (Rom 3:11; John 6:64,65; 2 Thessalonians 3:2) Because in Christ Jesus, God gives to us freely, what he demands from us. In the gospel God reveals the same righteousness and faith for us that God demands from us. What we had to have, but could not create or achieve or fulfill, God grants us freely, namely, the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and living faith that unites to Christ. He reveals, as a gift in Christ Jesus, the faith and righteousness that was once only a demand. Faith is not something that the sinner contributes towards the price of His salvation. Jesus has already paid that price in full for us.  Faith is our first gasp of breath in our new birth, so to speak.  It is a witness of God's work of grace already haven taken place within us (Eph 2:5, 8; 2 Tim 2:25; 1 John 5:1; John 6:63, 65). 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:14 -- john_hendryx

Helpful Theological Essays for Your Smart-Phone

From time to time here at Monergism we plan on taking some good theological resources and making them available in a way that they can easily be read in a smart-phone friendly format. Of course these can also be read on your laptop or tablet, but many of these were previously only available in such a way that smart-phone users could only see them in tiny almost unreadable text.

The following are a few that I have been working recently on that I thought you would find helpful and edifying.

What is Covenant Theology? by J I Packer

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Mortality; Judgement; Heaven; Hell by J I Packer

Man's Own Character No Ground Of Peace by Horatius Bonar

The Present State of the World by Herman Bavinck

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - Each Part in Saving Sinners by James Buchanan

Five Arguments for the Unity of the Covenant of Grace by Robert L Reymond

The Knowledge of Christ Crucified by Stephen Charnock

Verifying The Resurrection: Six Evidences by James Montgomery Boice

The Virgin Birth and History by James Montgomery Boice

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 16:51 -- john_hendryx

The Moral and Immoral Both Alienated from God

Both moral and immoral people are alienated from God. God is offended by both. This may be counter-intuitive but moral people are lost because of their "goodness". Why? It is often the case that goodness keeps people from God. In fact many people avoid Jesus by avoiding sin because they are trying to become their own saviors ... attempting to justify themselves. But the gospel is neither moralism nor relativism so it is equally offensive to the moral and the irreligious. But Christ calls us to repent of both our good and bad works, for we have no righteousness of our own.

As an example of Jesus dislike of people who trusted in their own morality, Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains." (John 9:41) Those who think God will accept us based on goodness actually understand only part of the truth. Yes, God loves what is good. But since He also loves the truth, we must confess that, in light of God's holy law, we are not good and have woefully failed to do what is pleasing to God, replacing God with worthless self-pleasing idol substitutes, and so we justly deserve to be punished for it. Those who think they have done enough to please God have not understood or considered the seriousness of their condition. John Calvin once said, "Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God's majesty." In light of the holiness of God all persons, even the best of us, would become undone. This was the case even with the holiest of the saints of the Bible. When it pleased God to reveal himself to them, they fell at his feet as though dead. God created us to enjoy and glorify Him, but humans voluntarily rebelled against God falling into the bondage of the self-centeredness of sin and cannot help themselves out of it.

Wed, 12/18/2013 - 09:59 -- john_hendryx

Free MP3s on Every Chapter of Scripture - For Smart Phones

Those who love listening to sermons and MP3s, especially smart-phone users, check out the following page. It is a hub for MP3s on every chapter of Scripture - including only solid Reformed pastors and teachers or teachers we otherwise think are helpful. There are thousands of free MP3s here that are just waiting for you to download into your smart-phone or tablet.

This is a must see >>> Bookmark this page <<<

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:07 -- john_hendryx

Thirty-Six Sermons of John Calvin (eBook)

by John Calvin

This eBook by John Calvin comes complete with an actively linked Table of Contents making navigation quicker and easier. Read it in your Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iPad or other hand-held device.

in ePub and .mobi formats

Table Of Contents

Sermon on the Deity of Jesus Christ - John 1:1-5

Sermon on the Nativity of Jesus Christ - Luke 2:1-14

First Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 26:36-39

Second Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 26:40-50

Third Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 26:51-66

Fourth Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 26:67-27:10

Fifth Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 27:11-26

Sixth Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 27:27-44

Seventh Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 27:45-54

Eighth Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Matthew 27:55-60

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ - Matthew 28:1-10

On Perverting the Gospel of Christ - Galatians 1:6-8

Justification is by Grace Alone - Galatians 2:15-16

We All Stand Condemned by the Law - Galatians 3:11-12

When Curse Becomes Blessing - Galatians 3:13-18

The Many Functions of God - Galatians 3:19-20

Freedom from the Bondage of the Law - Galatians 4:21-26

On Discerning Who Belongs to the True Church - Galatians 4:26-31

Sun, 12/15/2013 - 15:51 -- john_hendryx

Understanding 2 Peter 3:9 by John Samson (Guest Post)

Without doubt, this is the single most popular verse used to dismiss the biblical doctrine of election, bar none. The meaning of the verse is simply assumed, and because of this, no time is taken to study it, which is the very hallmark of tradition. I have to admit that I did this for many years. Those most enslaved to tradition are those who think they do not have any.

First of all then, let us read the verse in its context:

2 Peter 3:1-9––“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Sun, 12/15/2013 - 11:19 -- john_hendryx


Subscribe to Blog Feed

By Topic


By Scripture

Old Testament









1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles








Song of Solomon


















New Testament







1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians





1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy





1 Peter

2 Peter

1 John

2 John

3 John



By Author

Latest Links