Saturday, October 24, 2015

Staupitz shares the Gospel with Luther at Erfurt

Jean Henri Merle D'Aubigne captures the moment the Gospel was clearly declared to a struggling Monk named Martin Luther. It was a dear pastor, John Staupitz who brought the balm of God's grace to Luther-

It is in vain,” said Luther despondingly to Staupitz, “that I make promises to God: sin is ever the strongest.”

O my friend!” replied the vicar-general, looking back on his own experience; “more than a thousand times have I sworn to our holy God to live piously, and I have never kept my vows. Now I swear no longer, for I know I cannot keep my solemn promises. If God will not be merciful towards me for the love of Christ, and grant me a happy departure, when I must quit this world, I shall never, with the aid of all my vows and all my good works, stand before him. I must perish.”

The young monk is terrified at the thought of divine justice. He lays open all his fears to the vicar-general. He is alarmed at the unspeakable holiness of God and his sovereign majesty. “Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?” (Malachi 3:2.)

Staupitz resumes: he knows where he had found peace, and he will point it out to the young man. “Why,” said he, “do you torment yourself with all these speculations and these high thoughts? Look at the wounds of Jesus Christ, to the blood that he has shed for you: it is there that the grace of God will appear to you. Instead of torturing yourself on account of your sins, throw yourself into the Redeemer’s arms. Trust in him—in the righteousness of his life—in the atonement of his death. Do not shrink back; God is not angry with you, it is you who are angry with God. Listen to the Son of God. He became man to give you the assurance of divine favor. He says to you, You are my sheep; you hear my voice; no man shall pluck you out of my hand.

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

Having given my life to Jesus in 1972 and living so long under the oppressive state of “wondering if I have done enough and being so arrogant as thinking, “God, aren’t You lucky I am on your side!” God forbid, for now during these past 10 years of being exposed to the refreshing oasis of Reformed theology, I have never felt such freedom and joy just to be myself and not having to perform or play a game with Jesus. I know what Luther felt on that most providential day. Being released from our own self-imposed scales of bondage.