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.”

LDDVD-product4. “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.”

Bonus Quote:

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.

LDDVD-flatLuther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer

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.

“This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken.’ The doctor says, ‘Well, why don’t you turn him in?’ Then the guy says, ‘I would but I need the eggs.’ … I guess that’s pretty much how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.” – Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) from the film Annie Hall

Woody Allen concludes his Oscar winning film Annie Hall with this funny yet ironic joke.  With Manhattan as its backdrop, the movie explores the nature of human relationships.  Under the comedic veneer, Allen’s observant joke has an element of truth.  We do “need the eggs.”

Of course, this sounds somewhat cryptic.  What do eggs have to do with relationships?

All human beings have a built-in desire to have meaningful relationships of all varieties – friendship, family, romantic, etc. In fact, we were originally created to have perfect relationships with each other and with God. But the rebellion of man against God left a chasm, not only between God and man, but also between person-to-person relationships.  Feeling dissatisfied we pursue all sorts of relationships, hoping to fill the void. Childhood best friends, spouses, and next-door neighbors have all left us wanting for more.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have good times with other people. We do! Yet all of our relationships have messy moments because of our sinful natures.

So why don’t we head for the hills and live like hermits?

Because God designed us to “not be alone.” And that will never change.  Despite the fact that Woody Allen has said he doesn’t believe in God, he still can’t stop doing what God has designed him to do. He desperately craves and continues to search for meaningful relationships. We all do.

The good news is that Jesus came to redeem and restore broken relationships.

First and foremost, He came to redeem and restore our broken relationship with our Heavenly Father. Followers of Jesus are given new hearts so they can once again commune with God. They are forgiven of their sins and given Christ’s righteousness. Through prayer and reading God’s word, Christians can boldly come before the Father and trust that our sin no longer is keeping us separated.

Secondly, as Jesus begins to make us more like Him, He redeems and restores our broken relationships with each other. Jesus was our perfect example. He demonstrated his power and grace as he healed the blind, raised the dead, and spoke powerful words of truth and life. Of course He also humbled Himself by becoming a human as well as washing the dirty feet of his followers. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and by Christ’s example, we are able to love and serve our neighbors and our enemies. We no longer idolize people that lead to shattered hopes and bitter hearts. We desire to “love one another as Christ has loved us.” (John 13:34-35) We desire to “serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:12-14)

If you believe Christians always love perfectly, think again.  We unfortunately still live in bodies that are corrupted by sin, however, when we fail to love our spouses, children, bosses, etc., we can always ask God and the one we wronged for forgiveness. Grace covers a multitude of sins!

Just before Annie Hall fades to black, we see Allen’s character hugging his ex-lover goodbye.  As she walks away into the endless sea of people in New York City, Allen watches as we hear him tell the joke about “needing the eggs.”  He understands the need, but he has no idea about how to make the relationship work.  But thankfully Jesus came and proclaimed the simple answer:  “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)