About the Reformer
Thus the monastic and ascetic life of Luther was a preparatory school for his evangelical faith. It served the office of the Mosaic law which, by bringing the knowledge of sin and guilt, leads as a tutor to Christ (Rm 3:20; Ga 3:24). The law convicted, condemned, and killed him; the gospel comforted, justified, and made him alive. The law enslaved him, the gospel set him free. He had trembled like a slave; now he rejoiced as a son in his father’s house. Through the discipline of the law he died to the law, that he might live unto God (Ga 2:19).
In one word, Luther passed through the experience of Paul. He understood him better than any mediaeval schoolman or ancient father. His commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians is still one of the best, for its sympathetic grasp of the contrast between law and gospel, between spiritual slavery and spiritual freedom.
—Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church
Pulling It Together
As the harsh winter winds bring freezing rain that cracks open the earth to receive the melting ice and snow, just so the Holy Spirit uses the trials of life to open wide our hearts to the blessings of God. Often the ones who have drowned in night sorrow are they who overflow with joy in the morning. Having been softened, they receive the word implanted and learn the joy of the gospel. Just like this, God uses his Law to open our hearts to the need for grace.