A Treasure Revealed: Martin Luther and the Events of the Reformation
by Carol Geisler
The impact of Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation is unrivaled. While others questioned Roman Catholic Church practice and dogma, Luther's persistent determination to find Scriptural truth—and pursue it to its most profound conclusions—was a Gospel breakthrough that has influenced the lives of Christians from his day to our own.
Born in 1483, the second child of Hans and Margaret Luther was bright and motivated. An early career path toward law at the University of Erfurt, prompted in earnest by his father, was derailed by a frightening summer thunderstorm, on a return trip to that university in 1505. Fearing God’s anger in this outburst of nature, Luther pledged himself to a life of solitude and religious devotion and entered Erfurt’s Augustinian Monastery.
Luther struggled with questions concerning God’s holy nature, His righteous judgment, and how mankind would fare before a perfect God. He also perplexed over his life in the present and the grim prospect of an eternity without Him. Overwhelmed by his sin, and feeling certain to receive God’s condemnation, Luther despaired of any hope for divine forgiveness or a future right standing with God.
"The righteousness of God" in Romans 1:17 was a text Luther grappled with. Dr. Geisler writes, "Luther thought the righteousness of God described the holiness of an angry God who punishes unrighteous sinners. But as he continued to study those words, he came to a new understanding of the righteousness of God. … Luther understood that righteousness—holiness in the sight of God through the forgiveness of sins—is a gift from God, received through faith in Jesus. When he realized the truth about this gracious gift of God for sinners, Luther said he felt as if the gates of paradise had opened for him."
This booklet reminds us that in the end, "We are all beggars," as Luther said. We come before God bankrupt, knowing God’s forgiveness isn’t earnable. It’s freely given and available to all, without any merit or contribution on our part.
This Project Connect booklet complements A Man Named Martin - Part 1: The Man, a brand-new Bible study from Lutheran Hour Ministries. It's the first installment of a three-study series designed to honor the life and times of the German Reformer, his unparalleled contributions to the Christian church, and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
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