Martin Luther Quick Quote

For years I had heard the quote from Luther to “let our sins be strong” or to simply “sin boldly.”  Luther’s point was that Christ died for real sins and not the sins of our imaginations or the imaginations of others that some would seek to impose on us. The quote is from a letter that Luther wrote to Melanchthon in 1521 concerning the question of whether or not monks should break their vows. I had never read the letter before and only came across it last week in another helpful post from Dr. R. Scott Clark over at his Heidleblog. Interestingly, Luther’s famous saying was mentioned again in a sermon this morning. So, here is the relevant portion of that letter:

If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.

Explore posts in the same categories: Theology

4 Comments on “Martin Luther Quick Quote”

  1. Eric Says:

    It is amazing how many, in Presbyterian circles, including pastors who misinterpret Luther in this statement in order to marginalize the doctrine of justification by belief alone of which he was such and adamant proponent so they can cast him as an advocate of license.

  2. qeqesha Says:

    It is a bit of a concern as one wanders how many of the oft repeated “sayings” of people from the past are an accurate reflection of what was really said!!!

    I have posted a new topic at my blog —,


  3. qeqesha Says:

    Oh, and there is a new review at the Trinity Foundation by W Gary Crampton on Anderson’s book on Paradox.


  4. JoAnn Says:

    I take it to mean that we shouldn’t justify, minimize or make our sins “small in our minds”. Whether they be murder or the thought of murder, they are still sins and we tend to minimize our sins in our pleas for forgiveness. Sin is sin and we are all sinners.

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