I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was new to the University of Wittenberg in Germany, teaching courses in religion. He longed to understand the book of Romans, because he was confused about a spiritual crisis in his life. For years, he had been filled with guilt and with fear of God’s punishment for sin. He had earnestly tried to become righteous by following the church’s remedies for sin: prayers, fasting, confessions, masses, and pilgrimages to holy shrines. He even entered a monastery, became an ordained priest, and earned a degree in theology.
But the fear of condemnation gripped him until one day it became clear that God’s righteousness is a glorious gift given freely to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
Luther wrote, “I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole Scripture took on a new meaning.”
Luther found what the psalm writer reveals: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God used this man to spark a mighty reformation of the Christian church that is still making an impact on the world today.
Lord Jesus, we believe that by your obedience and sacrifice on the cross we are eternally right with God. Keep your truth clear to us. Amen.
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