THE DISTURBED MONK
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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Martin Luther said that there was an evil monk inside of each of us. What did he mean by such a strange statement. After all, Luther was a monk, an Augustinian monk. He of all people new about evil monks, he had been tormented by the one inside of him all of his life. All of us have a self centered part of our lives that seeks to justify ourselves and our actions. We all listen to that evil monk far too often.
Luther had come to faith in Christ after a long , hard struggle with his idea of righteousness, or right standing with God. He had been taught that righteousness was something that he did, some system he implemented or teaching that he followed. He knew he could never live up to the standard of righteousness seen in the Bible, none of us ever can. When he became tired of falling short and the frustrations of trying to live a righteous life came to a head, Luther came upon the revelation that changed his life and birthed the protestant reformation.
“Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God and said, “as if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity of the law of the ten commandments, without having God add pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with the righteous wrath!” Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience.
At this point Luther said “he beat upon Paul”, looking for the answer to his trouble. This is when the light burst on his soul, “the just shall live by faith”. He saw it, salvation was a gift, not something we performed, righteousness was given to us by faith. Luther then said “I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates”. As Luther discovered, there is an open gate into the joys of the other world through faith in Christ. Today, we can enter into that paradise. How? we join the throng who have gone before us declaring, “the just shall live by faith”.