top of page

Martin Luther and Reformation

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Saxony, in modern southeast Germany.


In 1505 Martin Luther made the dedication to be a Monk. Even as a Monk Luther struggled with a sense of existential despair. Feeling separated and alienated from God.


He entered the monastery to find help for his troubled soul. He confessed his sins up to 6 hours at a time. Staupitz , Martin Luther’s confessor told Martin Luther to not focus on such minor details but the big sins.  But Luther knew that it didn’t matter whether the sin was big or little, but all had to be forgiven


Martin Luther had to constantly confess but always was overwhelmed with the fact that tomorrow was another day, with brand new sins, and confessions. There is no end. He also struggled beacause he felt no matter how hard he tried, he would never be able to be good enough to get to Heaven.


How does a man know that he has done enough to earn the grace of God?

The church used to say that Salvation is by grace but you had to merit that grace.


Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “Night and day, I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.”


Given as a free gift, romans chapter 5 and 3


God met all the requirements through Christ. We get what we don’t deserve and can’t earn our way into heaven.


Purgatory was a big thing Martin Luther gave up.

Purgatory is a belief that after you die you are held in a place that isn't Heaven until, you come to the point you are righteous enough to enter heaven.

Luther believed if we receive the righteousness of Jesus it is all I need. We all are priests in the eyes of God, we can all ask for forgiveness for ourselves.


He recognized the power of the Gospel


During this time...

Pope Leo wanted to finish saint peter's basilica. He needed money and implemented that you could buy indulgences for yourself and others.


(Temporal penalties for sin were canceled through indulgences. You could buy your loved ones’ freedoms from purgatory. Some people bought indulgences for sins they hadn’t committed but planned to commit)


This angered Luther.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, nailed a sheet of paper with his 95 Theses on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door.

One of the many points Luther makes is for example:

#82, if the pope is able to open up purgatory for money, why doesn’t he do it with Love?


He, challenged the authority of the Catholic Church

He, rediscovered of what Peter was proclaiming and led to his death.

He, rediscovered the fact that the heart of the Biblical Gospel is found in God’s free offer of Righteousness through faith in his son Jesus Christ.


Through his prayer and study, Martin Luther developed Five Truths or Solas

The Five Solas are:

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.

  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.

  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.

  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.


After this Charles the 5th arose, he wanted to kill Luther, but knew if he killed Luther without a hearing, he would upset a lot of people. He reached out to Luther and scheduled the Diet of Worms (pronounced: Vorrums). He is interrogated, Charles ask that Luther recants, and he responds, give me until tomorrow.


Martin Luther responds the next day with this:

"Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."


He was allowed to go home and Emperor Charles wrote the Edict of Worms, which says when Luther gets home he may be killed without repercussion.


On his way home he is captured and Elector Fredrick Captured Luther so he would not be killed. In 11 weeks he translated the NT into German that others could understand.


Luther influences Calvin in France, he writes, "The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Bloody Mary is ruling in England. Refugees from England go to Geneva. They are English speaking and they need a better translation, this is where the Geneva Bible come from, when the Pilgrims came over to America they brought a Geneva Bible.


John Knox studied under Calvin for two years, then goes to Scotland and Scotland becomes reformed and then you have the beginning of Presbyterians.


Luther planted a seed of freedom of religion.

Luther showed us the need for courage.

When Luther understood the Gospel, he had the assurance, because he understood it was the Righteousness of Christ that saves us.


There are some things more important than living and that is being willing to die for Christ.

It is important for us to remember this because we need to be ready to stand up for our truth!

bottom of page