How has the historian Heiko Oberman interpreted the following passage from Martin Luther's "The Freedom of a Christian": "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all."
Heiko Oberman interprets this passage from "The Freedom of a Christian" by stating that Luther regards man's salvation as a gift of freedom. As such, man no longer needs to seek salvation by following God's law.
Once man has been freed from his craving for salvation, he can better serve his neighbor in his "wants and for his betterment". This is what Luther means when he says that the Christian is "the servant of all and subject to everyone".
In his brief discussion of Luther's treatise "The Freedom of a Christian," Heiko Oberman stresses the effect on the Christian believer of the recognition that Christ's salvation is a freely-given gift that liberates him from the constraints of God's law. As Christians have been forgiven by God, they no longer need to achieve salvation by keeping his law.
Once the Christian believer recognizes his freedom it then becomes possible to share the gift of freedom with his neighbor. That is why, says Oberman, a Christian according to Luther is "the servant of all and subject to everyone." As Christ has already filled our needs we are then in a position to serve our neighbor in his "wants and for his betterment".
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