Luther’s Coat of Arms

Long ago it was customary for royalty and other important families to have a family coat of arms, which appeared on all their belongings. At the time of the Reformation, Luther began using a coat of arms to express the beliefs of his faith.

Luther said, “There should be a black cross in the red heart. The cross causes pain for us, yet it does not kill. Carrying a cross for ourselves and others promotes the vital energy of the heart.” The cross in the very centre of this emblem reminds us of Jesus’ death on the cross.

The heart around the cross is red. Luther said, “The cross should stand in the red heart, for from the heart we must believe, and from the heart comes our very life.” Jesus said that the heart is purified when it contains the cross. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The rose is white. The heart should stand on a white rose to show that faith gives joy, comfort and peace, and it should be white because that is the color of the angels and the joy which comes from heaven. The rose is the symbol of Jesus himself. He is called the ‘Rose of Sharon.’ Isaiah prophesied that at His coming, the desert shall blossom as a rose.

“The rose,” said Luther, “should be placed in a sky-blue field, as this joy is already the beginning of heaven. We understand this as our hope of salvation.” Blue is the color that symbolizes heaven. The psalmist said, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.”

The blue field should be encircled by a golden ring because heavenly salvation endures forever and is valuable above all other possessions. The gold ray is the symbol of eternity. St John wrote, “The city was pure gold, clear as glass.”

Thus we have Luther’s coat of arms composed of five parts: the black cross, the red heart, the white rose, the blue field, and the gold circle. The coat of arms symbolizes one who, by God’s grace, has received the gift of faith and seeks to obey Him.