The article presents Martin Luther’s teaching on justification in the context of its soteriological and anthropological consequences, which at least on the verbal level are defined by the terms imputatio and deificatio. The basic presentation of the main aspects of this teaching is preceded by an outline of the historical background of its formation, where both the dispute over indulgences and the mystical inspirations of Luther’s theology played a significant role. The Wittenberg Reformer comprehended justification both as attributing to the believer the righteousness of Christ and as a close union with Him. This unity, whose image is marriage, consists in the commercium sacrum between man and Christ. The participation of a believer in the righteousness of Christ manifests itself as a kind of “transition” into Christ. In this sense, the existence of the justified person becomes an “ecstatic” existence, extra se, that is in God, resulting as a new – divinized (vergottet) – life.
The article discusses the concentration of Martin Luther’s theology on the Christian existence. There are three main areas pointing to this key idea. Firstly, the description of justification of the people in the categories of freedom gained through the experience of faith, which leads to a thankful service towards one’s neighbour. Secondly, sacramental understanding of the working of God’s Word as a performative that changes the world. It defines not only the understanding of the sacraments, with the key role of Baptism as a foundation for everyday actualisation of Christian life in penance, which strives for fighting off the sinfulness of an old, sinful man, and leads to building the man’s own justice based on the alien justice of Christ, but it is also the basis for the communion of believers – the church, as well as for the orders of creation, which structure the current reality. Thirdly, the remarks on theological knowledge closed in the triad prayer–meditation–temptation and theological weight of the experience of differentiating between the Law and the Gospel.
”The 500th anniversary of the Reformation for the Orthodox Church is not a special reason for joy, because that was another division in the Church” – Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) said. Although it concerned the relationship between Luther and the Western Church, its reference became the Orthodox Church, in which Luther sought primary teaching and ecclesiology. The proof of this was the Leipzig dispute, during which the primacy, liturgy, structure of the Church, the teaching of justification and purgatory, Luther confronted with the teaching of the Orthodox Church. If Luther saw in the Orthodox Church a framework for his reform, why did he not decide to convert to the Eastern Church? Karmires, emphasizing Luther’s great knowledge of the Orthodox Church, claims, however, that it had only a superficial character, lacking empirical knowledge. He also concludes that Luther neither wanted nor accepted Orthodoxy because of his affection to the mentality of the Western Church and to scholastic theology as well.