A Treasure Revealed: Martin Luther and the Events of the Reformation
by Carol Geisler
As the Lutheran Reformation celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2017, it makes sense to consider Martin Luther and the pivotal role he played in this momentous period in church—and world—history. In this Project Connect booklet, Dr. Carol Geisler highlights Luther’s watershed decision to devote his life to God; his discovery that it is by grace, not works, we are saved; and his lifelong crusade to call out and combat the egregious errors of the Roman Catholic Church.
For Luther, it was Romans 1:16-17 that first troubled—then transformed—his life: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”
This Scripture liberated Luther, freeing him from the dead weight of his sins and the strict compulsions imposed on believers by the Roman Catholic Church, with its oppressive rules and obligations. Luther saw that Jesus was the answer: His saving work on the cross and His glorious resurrection destroyed mankind’s deepest fears. Geisler writes, “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.”
Surveying other noteworthy events in Luther’s life (the 95 theses, his condemnation as heretic, his kidnap and stay at Wartburg Castle, his outlaw status, his marriage to Katie, his writings, etc.), Geisler offers several of the major highlights of his storied life, culminating with the well-known Latin phrase, “sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura,” (“grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone”).