Honoring The God Of Martin Luther

I was going to do a biographical sermon based on Martin Luther’s life, but the Holy Spirit had other plans. Instead, one verse kept coming to mind.
Honoring The God Of Martin Luther
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

October 31 is a very special day. No, not because it is Halloween. Something really important happened on that date that, by the power of our merciful God, freed the true Church from the grips of a religious body that was a dead body, and sadly still is. Down through the years there had always been someone or some group that withstood the corrupt church {1}. Thanks to the faithfulness of Christ in many and the providence of God in human politics, especially in Germany, there was a major breakthrough in the 1500s.

God used a Roman Catholic priest, one who

actually came to personally know Him through Christ, and his call to his peers to dicuss the sale of indulgences. That, of course, was Martin Luther and his posting of ninety-five theses. For decades now, after yielding to the prompting of God, as a pastor I have focused upon the Protestant Reformation in the ministries God has entrusted to me. 

I was going to do a biographical-topical message based on Luther’s life but the Holy Spirit seemed to be putting a strong focus on Psalm 34:6. It was almost like the Holy Spirit was directing the “spotlight” upon the God of Martin Luther and others who trust in Him through Christ. So, not so much a memorial service for Luther, but a message about remembering God and trusting God. I am sure Luther would not mind.

To tell anyone about Luther’s life would take hours. In this message I am just going to touch upon a few things that any true believer in Christ would recognize as blessing their life also. And, as mentioned, only one verse came to mind, Psalm 34:6 which is, “This poor man cried, and YHVH (The Existing One) heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.”  As you see it is in three sections and I feel led of the Holy Spirit to take the middle section first. To introduce that section I will ask, “Who heard the poor man?”

I. The Existing One Heard 6b

“. . . and YHVH (The Existing One) heard him . . .”

Now, because God is everywhere and all knowing He hears everything (and knows every thought). But just like there is that level where we actually recognize the presence of God, there is that level of communicating with God that sets us at one with His heart and permits us to partake of His mercy and other blessings. We will look at that a little more closely in the next point.

But before we do, along with Him being everywhere and knowing everything The Existing One is holy. Apart from Him we are not Holy. Luther was well aware of the holiness of God, properly respectful of it for the most part, and painfully aware of his impurity. Yet Luther would come to the point of understanding that YHVH exists also as merciful and redemptive.

II. Why He Heard 6a

“This poor man cried . . .”

By the Holy Spirit it was David who wrote, or composed, Psalm 34. He terms himself as “this poor man.” Often in the Word of God “poor” does not mean lack of finances or material goods. Here, and elsewhere, “poor” can mean {2}, among other things, afflicted, humble, wretched, weak or lowly. Though David had killed lions, bears, and Goliath, he did not depend upon himself, but upon God.

The best way to be poor is to recognize our need of God and only God. We should not need God because we need food, money, protection or anything else. We are to need God because we are essentially designed by Him to need Him. While needing God for temporal things may help bring some to Him, once we are in Him through Christ it is good to come to the place where we feel we just need and want Him alone.

At one point the Church of Laodicea did not recognize they were poor (Revelation 3:17). It was the same for the Pharisee that stood within the Temple not to far from a lowly publican (a tax collector for Rome) as recorded in Luke 18:9-14. By the Spirit Luke says Jesus gave that parable “to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt.” The pharisee trusted in his own righteousness, and though the Pharisee would tell you he was in the Temple praying to God, Jesus said, “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself.” The publican was lowly, humble, even ashamed, and asked God for mercy. That is the one God hears.

Now, it is true that the Word of God states that once we are in Christ we are kings, priest, His child, and more. However, we must always keep in mind that it is His grace through Christ Who makes us that way. In ourselves we are poor.

There are times the unsaved will say of a true Christian that they are using God as a crutch. I would reply, no. God is not my crutch. God is my eat, my drink, my very breath. Apart from Him we are wretched sinners.

Luther esteemed himself to be spiritually poor even though he himself would tell you {3}, “I was a good monk, and I kept the rule of my order so strictly that I may say if ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery it was I. All my brothers in the monastery who knew me will bear me out. If I had kept on any longer, I would have killed myself with vigils, prayers, reading, and other work.”

And for all of this Luther was not satisfied. He did not have the true peace of God until he surrendered to the finish work of Christ. But before that time Luther did not see the mercy of The Existing One in Christ, but only Christ as “a terrible judge.” Luther “spent days in fasts and bodily mortification, seeking release for his sinful soul.” {4} Luther realized he was spiritually bankrupt.

It is good for each person to come to the same place Luther did. We are so poor that we can never pay for any sin because each of us has

sinned against God Who is eternal and holy. We could never satisfy the Judge. In this state of mind and heart we can sincerely cry out to God for salvation. 

III. How He Answered 6c

“. . . and saved him out of all his troubles.”

Luther never got true peace until he understood that God had provided complete deliverance for sins. To get him closer to that point God used another priest, John Staupitz, who counseled him on many points {5}. Afterwards, Luther became “convinced of the authority of the Bible and justification by faith alone as he lectured at the University of Wittenberg as doctor of theology and  professor of Scripture. By the close of 1516 Luther was assured of his own salvation, . . .” {6}.

In studying and teaching Romans Luther saw the following passages and stood upon them:

Romans 3:26 -- “for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Romans 3:28 -- “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

Romans 4:5 -- “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

Romans 5:1 -- “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

God saved Luther from Luther. God saved him from his sins, his mental torment in this life, and from eternal torment. And while God still remained holy and the Judge to be feared, in Christ Luther became a child of God and was no longer a child of His wrath.

But, of course, anyone living godly in Christ will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). If one is going to live godly then there will be times they will need to take a stand against ungodliness. Upon hearing of the sale of indulgences Luther posted ninety-five theses concerning the matter upon the door of the Wittenberg church. Back then such doors served as bulletin boards. We may look at his theses as talking points.

Many of the staunch Roman Catholic leaders were more inclined toward coercion in various ways to keep Luther under the firm thumb of the apostate church. For His purposes, God spared Luther from torture and execution.

When someone surrenders to God through Christ God saves them from their troubles, a  main one of which is eternal damnation. Upon turning to Christ many have found release from fear, guilt, shame, bondage to sin, and more. But as brought out from the passage in 2 Timothy, there will be persecutions, and anyone knows that many have been killed for the sake of Christ. But they were still delivered because they died uncondemned in the sight of God. Consider the last two verses of Psalm 34, “Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. YHVH redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”

And though we all go through troubles before we leave this world, if we remain in Christ Psalm 34:22 applies again. After this life those who are in Christ will be raised unto Eternal Life. However, we must realize now we are spiritually poor, bankrupt, and in Christ there is redemption and deliverance.


{1} Not capitalized on purpose to make a distinction between the true Church and apostate church.

{2} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{3} Bainton, Roland H.: Here I Stand   A Life Of Martin Luther (The New American Library Of World Literature, New York, New York / Copyright 1950 by Pierce and Smith) p34

{4} Vos, Howard F.: Highlights Of Church History (Moody Press, Chicago, IL: 1960), p78

{5} Bainton, Roland H.: Here I Stand   A Life Of Martin Luther (The New American Library Of World Literature, New York, New York / Copyright 1950 by Pierce and Smith) pp 39-42

{6} Unger, Merrill F.: Unger's Bible Handbook (Moody Press, Chicago, IL: 1967), p909

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by November 30, 2017 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M475 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 25-10-2017 245 2

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  • nbillett  27-10-2017
    I came to the knowledge of the sale of indulgences when Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of Mercy. It still baffles me how for so long this corruption and injustice took place and was accepted, and how as Christians they believed that makes right for salvation. But as i mentioned in another comment, there is still corruption and injustice in the Church among her authorities.
    reply 0
  • Morning Girl  27-10-2017
    Martin Luther knew the corruption in Catholic religion and reading the Bible exposed him more to the Truth that set him free from the wrong teachings of Catholic church.
    reply 0
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