Chapter 3 “The Shape of Human Performance” pp. 53-76
When we consider human performance we often get ideas about perfectionism or some sort of progressive sanctification. The Lutheran Reformation did not conceive of it in this way. Christ’s righteousness makes us righteous in God’s eyes, period. There is nothing we can bring to the table. However, in relation to the created order, we do bring something - our good or bad works. Luther considered that all humans bring their works to bear in society. Some works are good, some bad. Some are purposeful, some unwitting. All are part of this world.
Luther assigned to human life various stations or orders. Counter to the typical Medieval view which listed church and state as most important, Luther recaptured the family as primary, with the other orders supporting the family. Next was civic and economic life which provides all we need in the market. Next came temporal government which protects economic peace. Finally is organized religion which enables families to live out their Christian life in community.
Luther also addressed God’s Law and the response of human wisdom. He affirmed that there is a distinct natural law which is analyzed and applied by the Bible and our wisdom. True wisdom and godliness are found as we live within the natural law, including its dynamic of sin and salvation.