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Coming in early June: a new booklet from Project Connect, A Treasure Revealed: Martin Luther and the Events of the Reformation, takes a brief but telling look at the life of this remarkable man.

The mission and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther have deeply influenced the history of Christianity's last 500 years. Born in 1483 and raised in a demanding, yet loving and God-fearing home, the second child of Hans and Margaret Luther proved himself intellectually bright and motivated to excel. Equipped with these traits the future held promise as he pursued law studies at the University of Erfurt and weighed the options for his life. It was a summer thunderstorm and lightning, however, on a return trip to that university in 1505, that abruptly shifted his career path. Sensing and fearing God's anger in this outburst of nature, Luther pledged himself to a monastic life of solitude and devotion and entered Erfurt's Augustinian monastery.

But Luther's religious struggles were not over. Grappling with the question, "How can I find a merciful God?" he was deeply unsettled by his ultimate prospects before Christ, who was both Savior and righteous Judge. For Luther it was the horrors of God's unmitigated judgment against sinners (among whom he felt a keen presence) that prompted, in part, a crisis of faith that would change the face of Christendom to this day. Overwhelmed by his sin, and sensing himself bound to receive God's punishing verdict, Luther despaired of any hope for divine forgiveness or a future right standing with God.

In this respect, "The righteousness of God" in Romans 1:17 troubled Luther. Author Dr. Carol 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."

Surveying other noteworthy events in Luther's life (the 95 theses, his condemnation as heretic, his kidnap and stay at Wartburg Castle, his marriage to Katie, his outlaw status, his writings, etc.), Geisler offers some of the major highlights of Luther's storied life. Culminating with the well-known Latin phrase, sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura, ("grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone"), select Scriptures are given relative to these three points for the reader. In the end, this booklet reminds us that "We are all beggars," as Luther said. We come before God totally bankrupt, knowing God's forgiveness isn't earnable. It's freely given, and there's nothing we can provide in exchange for this eternal treasure.

This Project Connect booklet is released in anticipation of an upcoming Bible study from the Men's NetWork. Coming this summer, A Man Named Martin: The Man will explore the early life and career of Martin Luther. It will be the first installment of a three-study series currently in development to honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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