Spiritual Breakthrough

by | Mar 16, 2024 | Faith, Righteousness

It is a well-known fact that Martin Luther, a former priest, is considered to be the leader of the German Reformation. In 1517, he nailed his ninety-five statements to the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany. This is an event that many of us think about every October 31st. Several years ago, we were on a Cities of the Reformation Tour, and one of the places where we spent quite some time was the town of Eisleben where Luther was born and died. We learned about all the things that he accomplished, how he was in trouble with the church authorities, and how he hid in Wartburg Castle for a couple of years while he translated both the Old and New Testaments into German, so that the ordinary people could read the words of Scripture. But we were never told about his early years, so I did some research.

He went to Latin school, and when he was 13 years old, he studied law at the University of Erfurt. He was a good student, and he earned both his baccalaureate and master’s degrees in the shortest time allowed by university statutes. He did so well at public debates that he earned the nickname “The Philosopher”.

But in 1505, his life took a dramatic turn. One day during a violent thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning struck the ground near him. “Help me, St. Anne!” he screamed, “I will become a monk!” He fulfilled his vow, gave away all his possessions, and entered the monastic life. He was very successful as a monk. He plunged into prayer, fasting, and ascetic practices, going without sleep, enduring bone-chilling cold without a blanket, and flagellating himself to the point where he fell down unconscious. He often made the penitential ascent up the steps of a church or cathedral on his knees as he prayed and meditated on Christ’s passion. However, during a visit to Rome, he became disillusioned with the teachings of the church, especially the paying of indulgences for the forgiveness of sins.

Against the teachings of his church, Luther took the Scriptures as his sole authority for belief. One Scripture text became his favourite Reformation verse:

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17 NKJV)

In a movie that I saw many years ago, there was a scene where Luther was seen to enter the word “Alone” in his study Bible: “The just shall live by faith alone” — faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Who died on the cross for our sins, was dead and buried, but rose from the grave and ascended into heaven, where He rules with God the Father.

In these days when so many are attempting to make the Scriptures mean whatever they want it to say, we need to have a new Reformation wherein we recapture the Reformers’ assertion that Scripture is the only rule of faith and life.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many people who do not have faith in You. We pray that they would have a spiritual breakthrough like Martin Luther, and that the truth of the gospel will speak to their hearts. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Copyright © 2021, by Joel Jongkind<austria67@bmts.com>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Meaford, Ontario, Canada


Spiritual Breakthrough