I grew up Lutheran, yet ironically having no real idea about how remarkable Luther was. Further, and most crucially, I never learned how precious the Savior is. I was not taught that salvation is a personal consideration. I was taught that His sacrifice was a sort of blanket that was generally spread over us all, not the “free gift” (Romans 5) that must be accepted personally. I was surrounded by candles, stained glass, robes and big pipe organ interludes…all the trappings of “religion”. When I trusted Christ to save me from sin (and I rejoice greatly that all of my family came to a saving knowledge of Christ…even my parents in their twilight years), and bypassed “religion” for a relationship, quotes like this began to ring true in my heart:
“At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”
Martin Luther did not adhere to the popery that had remained in the church of my childhood, where they had (sadly, and again ironically) even joined hands with the Catholic church for joint functions. Would Luther have embraced that practice? Here is further clarification:
“The article of justification is fragile. Not in itself, of course, but in us. I know how quickly a person can forfeit the joy of the Gospel … In the midst of the conflict when we should be consoling ourselves with the Gospel, the Law rears up and begins to rage all over our conscience. I say the Gospel is frail because we are frail. What makes matters worse is that one-half of ourselves, our own reason, stands against us … Therefore we teach that to know Christ and to believe in Him is no achievement of man, but the gift of God. God alone can create and preserve faith in us. God creates faith in us through the Word. He increases, strengthens and confirms faith in us through His Word. Hence the best service that anybody can render God is diligently to hear and read God’s Word. On the other hand, nothing is more perilous than to be weary of the Word of God. Thinking he knows enough, a person begins little by little to despise the Word until he has lost Christ and the Gospel altogether. Let every believer carefully learn the Gospel. Let him continue in humble prayer. We are molested not by puny foes, but by mighty ones, foes who never grow tired of warring against us. These, our enemies, are many: Our own flesh, the world, the Law, sin, death, the wrath and judgment of God, and the devil himself”. (from his commentary on Galatians)
I think I need this commentary.