But the gift of God that I particularly love and revere in you above all the rest is that you emphasize the righteousness of faith so faithfully and purely in all your writings. For this article is the head and cornerstone that alone begets, nurtures, builds, preserves, and defends the Church of God. Without it, the Church cannot remain standing for a single hour, as you know and perceive. That is why you insist upon it as you do. For no one can teach correctly in the church or resist any adversary successfully, unless he has grasped this article or, as Paul calls it, “the sound doctrine” [Titus 2:1], one who, as the same Paul says, “holds fast to the doctrine” [cf. Titus 1:9 Vg]…
We see how those who do not do this are carried about by so many winds of uncertain doctrine [Eph. 4:14], driven up and down by opinions that are endlessly multiplied, always learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth [2 Tim. 3:7]. And we not only see this but have also experienced it ourselves, when we were being spun about in the same whirlwinds of doctrines until the grace of God brought us to port and built us upon this solid rock [Matt. 7:24], so that we are certain of what we teach, learn, and hold, and we no longer vacillate as we did. Therefore, I beg you, most excellent Brenz, continue vigorously to press this article concerning righteousness by all means, wherever you are able, even until they are sick of it, just as you are doing. For otherwise the whole world is full enough of writers, shouters, and printers who very boldly neglect this article. Then, too, there are many who persecute it; most (since they are unable to do any other harm) obscure and corrupt it. But I am not surprised, for this article is the very heel of the Seed who opposes the ancient serpent, the heel that crushes its head. Therefore, Satan on his part can do nothing but lie in wait for it. But whatever harm he may do with his endless and tenacious snares, nevertheless he cannot conquer and crush it. As it is written: “He will crush your head.”
Luther’s Works – Vol. 59 (St. Louis, MI; Concordia Publishing House, 2012) p. 288-289. Preface to Johann Brenz, Exposition of the Prophet Amos.
Books by Martin Luther
Luther’s Works on Logos Bible Software
Other Luther Quotes