Martin Luther is one of the greatest forefathers of our faith today. By the turn of the 16th century, the Catholic Church was preaching that only priests had access to God, that the Bible had to be read and preached in Latin and that Christians who had died were in purgatory, but living Christians could buy access into Heaven for the dead through the purchase of indulgences from the Church.
Martin Luther, through wrestling with his own personal sin, pouring over the Bible, prayer and earning multiple degrees came to understand the teaching of Scripture that salvation is through faith alone by grace alone. He also realized that Jesus was the only priest needed for our intercession before God and that all believers have direct access to God through Him. He translated the Bible into German so that everyone could read and understand the Word of God, and He preached the Gospel.
He opposed the heretical teachings of the Pope and was consequently excommunicated by the him and deemed an outlaw by the Roman Emperor. He spent much time in hiding, but pastored a church, wrote many hymns, translated the Bible and taught as a professor.
Because of his conviction of the truth of salvation being through grace alone by faith alone, he set out to preach the Gospel to his congregation. When they were not transformed by the good news, he decided that he would preach the gospel until they were transformed! It is documented that one of his parishioners asked him,
“Pastor, why is it that week after week after week all you ever preach to us is the gospel?” – implying that “we’re ready to move on to something else. Certainly we know this by now.”
Luther’s response was,
“Well, because week after week you forget it, because week after week you walk in here looking like a people who don’t believe the gospel. And until you walk in looking like people who are truly liberated by the truth of the gospel, I’m going to continue to preach it to you.”
Are you over the Gospel? Are you ready to move on from the fact that you deserve damnation, an eternity separated from God in a fiery pit of judgment, pain and sorrow, but that Jesus Christ took that upon Himself so that you can be forgiven and spend eternity with Him? Where there is no pain and no sorrow?
If we have this attitude, that we are ready for something else – ready to move on, then we need to hear it again. Because there is no greater news, there is no greater hope and on this everything else is established.
How often do you preach the Gospel to yourself? Do you struggle with forgiveness?
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
– C. S. Lewis
When we understand the Gospel, we can forgive lavishly because we have been forgiven even more lavishly. We can love selflessly because we have been loved selflessly. The the more deeply we understand the Gospel, the more we are transformed to live and love and look like Jesus Christ in our interactions with others.
He who is forgiven little loves little.