Luther on the Washing of Regeneration

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Titus 3:5-6

In 1522 Luther preached,

“St. Paul calls the washing of regeneration, a renewing in the Holy Spirit, in order that the greatness and the might of grace may be perfectly expressed.  So great is this thing, that no creature can do it, but the Holy Spirit alone.

Behold, this is .preaching freely and fully the grace of God.  No patching with works avails, only the complete changing of the nature.  Those who truly believe must suffer much affliction and must die that grace may demonstrate its nature and its presence.

Grace is a great, strong, mighty, and active thin g.  It upholds, leads, drives, draws, changes and works all thing in a man and is really felt and experienced.  It remains hidden, but its works are manifest.  Works and words point to where it is, just as the fruit and the leaves show the kind and nature of the tree.”

Earlier Luther had been excommunicated and forbidden to preach.  He had been “kidnapped” by supporters and taken to Wartburg Castle to save his life.  By 1522 he was back in Wittenberg, but remained an outlaw in the eyes of the Holy Roman Empire and the Church.

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