Read His Words Before Ours!
An avid storyteller and musician.
A man passionate about marriage, family, and hospitality.
A sinner desperately aware of the futility of a lifetime’s efforts to produce his own righteousness . . .
. . . and a redeemed child of the King, dedicated to sharing the freedom and forgiveness he received from his Father.
Martin Luther lived in the 16th century, heading the Protestant movement across Europe. He is most famously known for presenting 95 theses to Roman Catholic leaders in 1517, igniting a larger “reformation” of the church. And yet, even in light of this great impact, Luther’s journey is still simple and relatable . . . the journey of an ordinary man.
As a young man, caught in the midst of an intense storm and facing death, Luther cried out to the Lord to save him. Motivated by such a powerful encounter with his living God, Luther decided to join a monastic community and commit his life to God. He awoke early, praying without ceasing, fasting, and reflecting.
Yet, despite his best efforts to uphold the rituals of monastic life, he was plagued by heavy despair. Luther was deeply disturbed by the realization his life of religious pursuit was not earning him righteousness. Instead, he harbored deepening self-hatred born of his unrelenting and unsuccessful war against his flesh.
Have you walked the same road, dear friend?
Have you tried to force yourself to do better, to be better, holier, more righteous?
And when you inevitably fail, have you redoubled your doomed efforts as you begin to hate every bit of who you are?
Then you know.
Separated from the Father’s forgiveness and grace, hopelessness descends in a black, suffocating fog.
During this time, Luther earned a teaching position at the University of Wittenberg. Delving deeply into the Scriptures, Luther was gripped by the books of Psalms and Romans. He was faced with the reality of Jesus Christ, and the truth that His blood covers all of our sins, giving us freedom in obedience.
Luther realized salvation comes through no religious ritual, or any other
source, outside of Jesus himself.
Forgiveness, salvation, and righteousness,
Found in Christ alone.
Through faith alone.
By grace alone.
Revealed through the Spirit-inspired Word of God alone.
To the glory of God alone.
As the light of understanding dawned in his heart, Luther exclaimed, “At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I [. . .] began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith […] Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”
Can you feel it, friend?
Lost in hopelessness, weighed down to a breaking point by the impossible burden of perfection, wounded again, and again, and again by the accuser (or your own thoughts) . . . Suddenly, three words reverberate through the fog around you.
“It is finished.”
The clamor of self-flagellating accusations is silenced by a deafening CRACK as the shackles binding you to the crushing weight of your sin and failed righteousness break and fall away.
As the swirling mist begins to lighten, you are able to make out Someone approaching. He crouches before your crumpled self, wrapping a scarred hand around your own. “My child,” He says with gentle authority, “you are free. I carried your sin burden to My cross, and I left it behind in My empty tomb. My righteousness is now your own. Accept My grace and walk in faith.” This was Luther encountering the freedom found in Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone, in Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone.
Longing for his fellow believers to experience the same transformation unto freedom, Luther clearly outlined his newfound understanding of salvation in the publication of the 95 Theses. His theses spread across Europe, calling the church to eliminate practices distorting the New Testament’s teaching on the truth of salvation in Christ. Eyes everywhere were opened to the authority, power, and sovereignty of Christ and His role as head of the church.
Yet, despite his fame, Luther remained a simple man devoted to his family. With his wife, Katharina, and their six children, he shared his passion for music, story, and the grace and joy found in following Christ.
In fact, Martin and Katie Luther were influential in changing cultural perspectives on marriage and family. Fighting prevailing views of marriage as a distraction from the holy, Luther argued for the sacred nature of a God-centered marriage, explaining: “There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage” (Robinson, 2017).
The Luthers’ approach to family portrayed it as an important, God-given gift, shaping us to be more like Christ. Their home was warm, lively, and full of joy.
The Luther family continued to put feet to their faith as they often welcomed others into their home, housing orphans and ministry leaders. Their gift of hospitality was clear and rooted in their love for the Father.
The true peak of Luther’s life wasn’t the Theses, nor his lifelong public ministry. Rather, he most treasured the moments spent in quiet communion with the Father, listening to His voice and experiencing His love. Martin would often wake before sunrise and sit with the Prince of Peace, even through the intensity of depression and sickness. In the face of trials, he gained strength and endurance in Christ alone.
As Luther’s life testifies, our Father’s love is steadfast and transforms our hearts and lives, from our most intimate interactions with those closest to us to our most public efforts to share the forgiveness, grace, and hope we find in God alone.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!