To say Martin Luther has made a profound impact on the world today would be an understatement. Not only did he stand up to the corruption of his day and ignite the flame that would become the Protestant Reformation, but he reestablished the Gospel at the center of the Christian life.
A prolific writer and teacher, it’s impossible to distill everything Luther said and wrote into a single blog post. Instead, we have selected a few key passages from his commentary on Galatians.
Though it may seem a strange place to start, his words in this commentary clearly illustrate the heart of the gospel message that became the foundation of the Reformation throughout Europe—that we are not saved by our own merits and good deeds, but by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
1. “The Gospel supplies the world with the salvation of Jesus Christ, peace of conscience, and every blessing.”
2. “Christ came into the world to reconcile God with us and to draw us to the Father.”
3. “The right separation between Law and Gospel is very important to know. Christian doctrine is impossible without it.”
4. “The greeting of the Apostle is refreshing. Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever. Only Christians possess this victorious knowledge given from above.”
5. “… the truth will win out.”
6. “The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly and to believe it with all our heart.”
7. “But we who endeavor to please God and not men, stir up hell itself.”
8. “Did God call me on account of my holy life? Or on account of my pharisaical religion? Or on account of my prayers, fastings, and works? Never. Well, then, it is certain God did not call me on account of my blasphemies, persecutions, oppressions. What prompted Him to call me? His grace alone.”
9. “God not only pardoned our iniquities, but in addition overwhelmed us with blessings and spiritual gifts.”
10. “These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity. Grace involves the remission of sins, peace, and a happy conscience. Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the Law. The Law reveals guilt, fills the conscience with terror, and drives men to despair. Much less is sin taken away by man-invented endeavors. The fact is, the more a person seeks credit for himself by his own efforts, the deeper he goes into debt. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God. In actual living, however, it is not so easy to persuade oneself that by grace alone, in opposition to every other means, we obtain the forgiveness of our sins and peace with God.”
As Martin Luther was on trial for his writing of The Ninety-Five Theses, he faced the choice of recanting the words he knew to be true or become a convicted outlaw and heretic by order of the Holy Roman Emperor. This is what he said:
“Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning … then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience.” Then he added, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen.“
Discover the story of the former monk who sparked the Reformation. Told through a seamless combination of live-action storytelling and artistic animation, Martin Luther’s daring life is presented in extensive detail while still making the film relevant, provocative, and accessible.
Produced and just released by Haven Ministry’s Stephen McCaskell, this highly acclaimed 90-minute documentary will transport you back to the definitive moments that impacted the Church today. It will challenge you to a bolder faith and a greater passion to see the saving truth of Christ go into the world. This documentary needs to be watched and shared with small groups and in churches.