Saint Martin Luther
Justification by Faith
from Martin Luther
The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us ... Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31)
The Feast of Saint Martin Luther
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Martin Luther. Which is in itself somewhat ironic, as I doubt Luther would have considered himself much of a saint, at least not in the traditional Catholic sense of the word. The man who is famous for his deep grasp of his own sinfulness is now called a saint (by those of us who stand in the lineage of the Reformation).
Of course, Luther is a saint the same way all who put their trust in Jesus are saints. We are made sacred, set apart, by the grace of God. Luther deeply believed in God’s grace, and made it the center piece of his life and teaching. He did not invent this concept, of course. This is a teaching of the life of Jesus, as drawn out by St. Paul in his letters. But apart from Luther, most of the Western Church had largely forgotten this central tenet of the Gospel. So, today we remember that sometimes a leader must arise who reminds us of God’s deep truths. And we also remember that God has never found a perfect person to do his work.
I am encouraged today by Luther. I am encouraged by his courage, his tenacity, and his hard work. I am even encouraged through his vulgarity, his arrogance, and his small-mindedness. These encourage me because they remind me that God can, and will, use anybody in the accomplishment of his vision.
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