Apart from the apostolic age, there is no one in history that I enjoy studying and learning about more than Martin Luther.
Weird, I know!
I did a Martin Luther tour in Germany. I have the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation tattooed on my leg. I get more stoked about Reformation Day than 87% of the year’s other holidays.
And I thought it’d be nice to share with you some of the reasons why he has such a special place in my heart–so maybe you don’t judge me so hard when you see me wear my “Here I stand, I can do no other” socks.
[Side note–the study of Church history, and therefore diving into doctrine–is a WONDERFUL way to grow in understanding & adoration of who God is. I highly recommend it :))
10 Things I Just Love About Martin Luther:
1.) He was a man of strong convictions and of courage. There are SO many examples of the Holy Spirit giving him strength of conviction, but one I love is when he was on trial at the Diet of Worms-vehemently disagreeing with over a thousand years of church tradition, and says, “My conscience is taken captive by the Word of God…To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”
2.) He had sass. One time, when they asked him to recant his accusations that indulgences (people paying their way out of purgatory) was NOT Scriptural he responded with “I was wrong, I admit it, when I said that indulgences were ‘the pious defrauding of the faithful.’ I recant and say, ‘Indulgences are the most impious frauds and imposters of the most rascally pontiffs by which they deceive the souls and destroy the goods of the faithful.” Such sass.
3.) He had a WONDERFUL marriage! Luther and his wife Katie (whom he called My Kate <3) are #goals! Their relationship was full of strength, laughter, and delightful companionship. He said,”Next to God’s Word, there is no more precious treasure than holy matrimony. God’s highest gift on earth is a pious, cheerful, God-fearing, home-keeping wife.” And he advised that “The wife should make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry he leaves.”
4.) He was passionate about prayer. “No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes.”
5.) He elevated the authority of Scripture. In a time where the only authority that mattered was the popes’ (and it was soooooo corrupt), Luther said “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or council without.” And he even said that if there was anything in any of his books that were contrary to Scripture, he would be the first to throw them into the fire!
6.) He wasn’t superman. He wasn’t perfect, and he definitely said some very stupid things in his lifetime. He also experienced very difficult periods of depression and anxiety, and even seasons of demonic oppression. And yet, by the grace of God, and for His Name’s sake–his faith and legacy flourished.
7.) He was TRANSFORMED by the gospel. During his years as a monk, he was crippled by fear. Absolutely haunted by thoughts of a vengeful, merciless Majesty-and driven near to death by the reality that he could never satisfy that Judge. When the truth of God’s GRACE THROUGH FAITH ALONE was revealed to him through studying the original Biblical texts, he unequivocally became a NEW MAN. And that is awesome to see!
8.) He was a man of great humility– “All that I am and have is due to His grace and mercy, aye, to His precious blood and bitter sweat. Therefore, God willing, all of it is to be done to His honor, joyfully and sincerely. ”
9.) He fought against the devil while cooped up alone in a castle for refuge. And during that time he translated the New Testament from the original greek into German in 11 weeks! He brilliantly translated it into a common German dialect (which was a huge deal!) that united the German people and thusly aided in the blossoming of the Reformation.
10.) He deeply loved the word of God and wanted EVERYONE to be able to read it and love it like he did! About knowing God’s word he says“First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.” And he thought EVERY person should have the Bible written “simply enough” for ever the simplest minded person to do the same.
Martin Luther was not perfect. He had sooooo many flaws (maybe I’ll write about them next Reformation Day!)-but I appreciate his life so much, not simply because it is a fascinating story, but because it stirs my heart to want to know the Word more deeply, treasure it’s authority more passionately, share it’s power more consistently, and delight in the grace it teaches more steadfastly. I want to pray more–and see it’s effect and power. I want my heart to overflow in gratitude for the cross more. I want to pray for and have a marriage that looks like Christ and the church-the way Kate and Martin’s did. His life motivates and encourages my heart. That is why I love his story. I hope what I shared did the same for you too!
(Many of my quotes were from the book “Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation” by Erwin Lutzer. I highly recommend it if you want to learn more! It’s an enjoyable and informative read!)