A Minute about Martin
“… the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written: ‘He who through faith is just shall live.’ Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” These are famous words of Martin Luther from the 16th Century, as he finally realised that being right with God doesn’t come through trying to make ourselves right by our own efforts, helped along by God. But that you, I, and others can be in the right with the holy God by faith, a believing trust in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins on the cross.
It can be very difficult for us to realise just how massively changed the world is today because of things people like Luther and others said, wrote and did about 500 years ago; they were instrumental in the development of what we call ‘the modern world’. So in this 500th anniversary year of Luther writing The 95 Theses (Google it) you and I should be extremely grateful and thankful for people like Luther; in a human sense, our eternal salvation depends on them.
In our age technology helps us be so much more productive — but, people like Luther were massively productive without even a biro, let along a computer or smart phone. His writings cover 75 books! He was also a University Professor, a Pastor, a husband and father of six children, and wrote hundreds of letters to people. If you think you are ‘an achiever’, then be humbled by people like Martin Luther; you haven’t done that much compared to him.
People like Luther also free us from relying ultimately on only things like: ‘I feel that …’, ‘It’s my opinion that …’, ‘the truth for me is …’ because they redirected us back to God’s word (the Scriptures), which is the final and ultimate arbiter. This is because it is absolute truth as it is ultimately from the all-knowing and unchanging God. And thank God for that!
For all of the admirable qualities, words and actions of the Protestant Reformers like Luther, we must not idolise them. Great people often have great flaws and Luther certainly did. He could be obstinate, rude and unnecessarily divisive. Not every single thing he thought, said and wrote is correct. So admire, but don’t idolise. Because, as Luther himself said, “When Satan tells me I am a sinner he comforts me immeasurably, since Christ died for sinners.”
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