16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).
It is ironic that the portion of Scripture which God used to bring Martin Luther to saving faith, and to deliver him from the apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church, was Paul’s magnum opus epistle to the church at Rome. Romans 1:16-17 were the two verses which broke through the darkness of Luther’s attempts at salvation by works righteousness, unto a salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, based upon the Scriptures alone and ultimately to the glory of God alone.
Following his pilgrimage to Rome, Martin continued in his pursuit of becoming right with God based upon the monk’s most sincere efforts to attain that righteousness by his good works. The Apostle Paul knew well the arduous spiritual road upon which Luther traveled because Paul had traveled upon it himself. He says as much in Philippians 3:1-9.
The apostle trusted in all his works righteous accomplishments in Judaism as Luther pursued the same works righteousness system in Roman Catholicism. As God shown the light of the gospel on the Damascus Road for Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9), so too would the sovereign Savior accomplish the same gracious work for a monk in Wittenberg, Germany.
God’s method of saving sinners has not changed. The people, names, faces and circumstances may differ from person to person, but the gracious work of God in saving a soul from hell is through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This heralding brings about the regenerating work by the Holy Spirit unto salvation within the soul of the sinner. It is this sovereign work of God which brings glory and praise to God from the life and lips of the sinner saved by the grace of God.
May we continue to hold this pearl of great price ever dear, while at the same time always willing to share its wealth with others.
Soli deo Gloria!