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God's Grace Finds Brother Martin
Painting of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach
A THUNDERSTORM WAS BREWING as the young man hurried towards his home in Stotternheim, Germany. The year was 1505 A.D. Suddenly there was a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning knocked the young man to the ground. In his terror he cried out: "St Anne, help me, and I will become a monk!" The young man was MARTIN LUTHER. In his terror he saw the lightning as a warning of the terror of Judgement Day. He knew he had to get right with God and thought the only way was to become a monk.
The storm that brought Martin to his knees in terror at the thought of Judgement Day was reflected in the terror he experienced on the day of his ordination as a priest a year after entering the monastery at Erfurt. As he took his place behind the altar to celebrate the Mass, he was struck with a feeling of sheer terror – here he was, in his own words, "a miserable little pygmy…dust and ashes and full of sin," daring to speak to the living, eternal and awesome God on behalf of the people.
THE SUDDEN REALISATION OF GOD'S GRACE:
Luther's Spiritual Birth & Justification By Faith Alone
In 1515 Luther lectured on Paul's LETTER TO THE ROMANS and the following year on his LETTER TO THE GALATIANS at the University of Wittenberg. While studying the scriptures, Luther discovered that God's requirement of sinners is not perfection but faith in the Person and finished work of Christ on the Cross.
The breakthrough came as Luther was reading Paul's Letter to the ROMANS Chapter 1 Verse 17. Luther had a conversion experience (his "Turmerlebnis" or "Tower experience" in his room in the tower of the Black Cloister in Wittenberg, Germany). Here are Luther's own words describing what happened to him:
"Then I began to understand the righteousness of God through which the righteous are saved by God's grace - namely, through faith....Now I felt exactly as though I had been born again, and I believed I had entered Paradise through widely opened doors."
Brother Martin had been born again from above by the Holy Spirit of God. He had discovered JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH, where God sees me just as if I'd never sinned when I put my faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour.