Galatians 1:15-17 & Romans 2:12-16
From the Reformer
We now hear what kind of doctrine was committed to Paul: The doctrine of the Gospel, the doctrine of the revelation of the Son of God. This doctrine differs greatly from the Law. The Law terrorizes the conscience. The Law reveals the wrath and judgment of God. The Gospel does not threaten. The Gospel announces that Christ is come to forgive the sins of the world. The Gospel conveys to us the inestimable treasures of God.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
It is small wonder Luther was terrified in that legendary lighting storm. He feared for his life but this was the lesser matter. He feared for his eternal soul. The traditions of the Church had instilled in him a dread of the wrath of God. That is a good thing. Yet it is a terrible thing for the believer to only know God’s wrath. Young Luther knew nothing yet of the love and mercy of a gracious God.
Perhaps it was because he likened the Father to his own demanding father. Whatever the reason, he knew he could not please his heavenly Father. And it terrified him. So to die without extreme unction, alone, and in the hands of an angry God was the worst scenario for Luther to find himself.
Still, God used that storm and Luther’s stormy, befuddled conscience to lead the Church into a season of grace. Eventually, he found Christ. Rather he found the Trinity. Instead of a simple angry Father, that storm cleared the way for Luther to discover in scripture that God is also loving Savior and guiding Spirit.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers