A Treatise on Good Works is considered Luther’s clearest exposition on Christian life
and the relationship between faith and good works. Contrary to the teachings of the
Roman church of his day, Luther taught that people need not perform extraordinary acts
of religious devotion to be saved, but rather that Christ saves them by grace through faith.
Neither the church nor any other human institution can define what it means for each
individual to obey and serve God, and only through the grace of God can people live and
act faithfully in their everyday affairs. These doctrines, foundational for Protestantism,
have shaped both Christendom and culture at large. This essay is doubtlessly one of the
most important texts of the last 500 years.