Few people had a greater impact on the Catholic church than Martin Luther. His ninety-five thesis was the spark that many believe brought the reformation. Yet it’s easy to forget that he began as a Catholic monk.
One night caught in a thunderstorm Luther is knocked down by a thunderbolt and promises, “Saint Anne, save me, and I will become a monk!” He did live through the ordeal and kept up his end of the bargain.
Few people had ever been more committed to holiness than Luther. He would spend up to six hours at a time in confession to the point where priests and other monks would become annoyed with him.
Yet he still did not have peace.
The quote at the heading of this post describes the frustration of Luther.
“If anyone could gain heaven as a monk, it would have been me.” He would attend confession for hours at a time, and at one point, when asked about his love for God, replied, “Love Him? I hate him!!!” Martin Luther
it wasn’t till later when Martin Luther was (ironically) made a Bible professor at Whittenburg that he came to Christ. He was studying a newly translated Greek New Testament done by Erasmus when he came to Romans 1:17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (emphasis added)
That small phrase became the second thunderbolt to hit Martin Luther!
The foundation of the Reforming Church is a simple but profound truth. Salvation is by Grace instead of works. Since this is true, then the other side must be true as well, works cannot bring peace.
Living in a religious mission field with individuals who are good, and attend church, yet have never chosen Christ as their Savior the story of Martin Luther is precious to me. There are so many like Martin who believes the Christian life can be obtained if they just try a little bit harder, only just like him to find no peace at all.
And the only thing that can set them free is the same truth that transformed the life of Martin Luther.
The price has already been paid…..
all we have to do is take the gift