Digging around, I found two more great quotations from Luther regarding the Three Estates of Church, Family, and State. They’ve been added to the growing collection on this post.
Here they are:
Martin Luther, Commentary on Genesis 43:1-5
In this manner the legends of the saintly fathers surpass by far the nonsense and the fables we have admired in the papacy. Of what concern is Antony to us? Contrary to his conscience, since he knew that nothing should be undertaken in life or doctrine apart from God’s command, he hid himself in the desert. We know that there are three estates in this life: the household, the state, and the church. If all men want to neglect these and pursue their own interests and self-chosen ways, who will be a shepherd of souls? Who will baptize, absolve, and console those who are burdened with sins? Who will administer the government or protect the common fabric of human society? Who will educate the young or till the ground? Yet these duties, which have been commanded and approved by God, have been scorned and cast aside in the papacy, and the devil has foisted those monstrous acts of the monks upon men with horrible fury.
Accordingly, these things should be mentioned and inculcated often, in order that we may learn that God is not offended but rather pleased by these estates, provided that they remain within the limits of His commandments. If you cannot command or teach, you should nevertheless be obedient in a godly manner or learn from others. But in these three spheres you should serve God and not be found in the desert with Antony, Hilarion, or Malchus.
These matters should be placed before the youth and the inexperienced above all. They do not yet know what sin, the devil, and the flesh are. The examples of the fathers, the prophets, and the apostles should be shown to them. These men did not despise the household, the state, and the church. Nor did they shrink from the works of farmers and slaves. Nevertheless, they were able to live in faith and God’s commandments. In ordinary life they conducted themselves in such a way that to the eyes of the flesh no difference was apparent between Abraham, Isaac, and the other fathers, who were the friends of God (cf. Is. 41:8), and the heathen rulers who were ignorant of God and hated Him. The flesh does not see the promise and the love of the saints, just as the papists and the jurists do not see these things. They direct their lives in accordance with a self-chosen norm of sanctity and righteousness.
(Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 7: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 38-44, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 7 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 312–313.)
Martin Luther, Commentary on John 3:20
Again and again we must proclaim that the grace of God can not be attained unless we confess our sin, but that God remits our sin if we but acknowledge it. Whenever we follow the example of Saul and pretend that we have not sinned—as the Jews, the pope, the Turks, fornicators, and greedy bellies do today, boasting that they are not sinners but just, and thereby implying that God is in error—hell stands ajar, and heaven is closed. It goes without saying that the devil is not merciful, just, and almighty; for he does not preserve all things; nor does he create the sun and light. But there must be someone who does this. It follows that it is God who creates and preserves all, and that He also protects the three estates in the world—the church, the civil government, and the home. It is He who lets His sun rise over the good and the evil (Matt. 5:45). All other creatures acknowledge that God is gracious and merciful; only man denies this and withholds from Him the honor which all the others accord Him. The crux of the matter is that he who does evil cannot bear the light. Blessed is he who does, for he will be helped.
(Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 22: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1-4, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 22 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 405.)