When the light of the gospel was turned on in Martin Luther’s mind and heart, the Protestant Reformation was given a huge dose of momentum. Some say it began in that moment, but that is to miss the whispers of Reformation that had been taking place for over one hundred years. But that is a different story. The point for me today is that this man who was so enamored and set free by a conscious apprehension of God’s grace, really struggled to believe it. As a friend of mine, Johnny Long, says, “The gospel can be like a bar of wet soap. It is easy to lose our grasp on it.” Luther says the same thing, but in a little different way:
“Let anybody try [to live by faith in God’s grace] and he will see and experience how exceedingly hard and bitter a thing it is for a man who has lived by works righteousness, to pull himself out of it with all his heart… I myself have been preaching and cultivating [a grace centered life] through reading and writing for almost twenty years and still feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something so that He will give me His grace in exchange for my holiness. Still I cannot get it into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace, yet I know that this is what I should and must do.”
Surrender to sheer grace. Yes, that is it! But not just once, or at a re-dedication service. I am called to surrender my self-righteousness to the sheer grace of Jesus every day—and if your experience is like mine… multiple times a day. And the result is the experience of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.