I’m a little bit late in catching onto this, but I’m going to now say something that may shock those of you who saw me in church history lectures last year. Are you ready for this? I think Martin Luther is a legend. He’s inspiring. If you don’t know much about him, it’s a fairly simple story. Luther had been brought up by his parents who wanted him to become a lawyer, after almost being struck by lightning, he begged God for mercy and promised that if he got out of it he would dedicate himself to God. Sort of Hannah-esque, really. Anyways, he became a monk in the only church around back then – the Catholic church. God to him, though, was an angry God. He didn’t know how to love a God of anger…
He then ‘discovered’ while studying the New Testament, that God is a God of love and grace. He spoke out against the Catholic churches practices of indulgences and got in a whole lot of trouble for it. They asked him to recant but he refused because his conscience wouldn’t allow him. He was part of what we call the Reformation – but that’s a whole other story for another day.
That’s the basics of Luther. My admiration of him comes from one major place – that in the face of everyone sticking to something that was a lie, but something they were used to, he stood up and proclaimed this God of grace and love. Today its a lot different. There’s still a Catholic church, but they don’t dominate everything. There are still things that we just got used to, though. Culture today isn’t dictated by church. Culture today promises acceptance IF you meet their standards. God, yesterday and today, promises that if you come to him with a humble, repentant heart then you are his treasure. Culture is a cruel, vindictive God who you will constantly have to change to live up to expectation with. God expects that you accept grace, and follow him. He knows you will stumble. He knows you will need grace. But isn’t that why he is called the God of love?
Luther was a legend because he stood for God in a corrupt culture dictated by the Catholic church.
Today, with the power of the same God, we can be radically different and live out the same crazy life of dedication to the God of love and grace.
Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.