Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thank God For Martin Luther

The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon about Martin Luther.

“But the just shall live by his faith.”
Habakkuk 2:4.
This text is three times employed by the Apostle Paul as an argument. Read Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews
10:38—in each of these cases it runs, “The just shall live by faith.” This is the old original text to which the Apostle
referred when he said, “As it is written, The just shall live by faith.” We are not wrong in making the Inspiration of
the Old Testament to be as important as that of the New, for the truth of the Gospel must stand or fall with that of the
Prophets of the old dispensation. The Bible is one and indivisible—you cannot question the Old Testament and retain
the New. Habakkuk must be inspired, or Paul writes nonsense.
Yesterday, 400 years ago, [November 10, 1483] there came into this wicked world the son of a miner, or refiner of
metals, who was to do no little towards undermining the Papacy and refining the Church. The name of that baby was
Martin Luther—a hero and a saint. Blessed was that day above all the days of the century, which it honored, for it bestowed
a blessing on all succeeding ages through “the monk that shook the world.” His brave spirit overturned the tyranny
of error which had so long held nations in bondage. All human history since then has been more or less affected by
the birth of that marvelous boy! He was not an absolutely perfect man—we neither endorse all that he said nor admire
all that he did—but he was a man upon whose like men’s eyes shall seldom rest!
He was a mighty judge in Israel, a kingly servant of the Lord. We ought to more often pray to God to send us men—
men of God, men of power. We should pray that, according to the Lord’s infinite goodness, His ascension gifts may be
continued and multiplied for the perfecting of His Church, for when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive
and received gifts for men. And “He gave some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors
and teachers.” He continues to bestow these choice gifts according to the Church’s needs and He would scatter them more
plentifully, perhaps, if our prayers more earnestly ascended to the Lord of the Harvest to thrust forth laborers into His
harvest. Even as we believe in the crucified Savior for our personal salvation, we ought to believe in the ascended Savior
for the perpetual enriching of the Church with confessors and evangelists who shall declare the Truth of God.
I wish to take my little share in commemorating Luther’s birthday and I think I can do no better than use the key of
the Truth of God by which Luther unlocked the dungeons of the human mind and set bondage hearts at liberty. That
golden key lies in the Truth briefly contained in the text before us—“The just shall live by his faith.” Are you not a little
surprised to find such a clear Gospel passage in Habakkuk? To discover in that ancient Prophet an explicit statement
which Paul can use as a ready argument against the opponents of Justification by Faith? It shows that the cardinal doctrine
of the Gospel is no new-fangled notion! Assuredly it is not a novel dogma invented by Luther, nor even a Truth of
God which was first taught by Paul!
This fact, Justification by Faith, has been established in all ages and, therefore, we find it here, among the ancient
things, a lamp to cheer the darkness which hung over Israel before the coming of the Lord! This also proves that there has
been no change as to the Gospel. The Gospel of Habakkuk is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! A clearer light was cast
upon this Truth of God by the giving of the Holy Spirit, but the way of salvation has, in all ages, been one and the same!
No man has ever been saved by his good works. The way by which the just have lived has always been the way of faith.
There has not been the slightest advance upon this Truth—it is established and settled—always the same, like the God
who uttered it.
At all times and everywhere, the Gospel is and must forever be the same. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today,
and forever.” We read of “the Gospel” as of one—never of two or three gospels—as of many. Heaven and earth
shall pass away, but Christ’s Word shall never pass away. It is also noteworthy that this Truth of God should be so old and should continue so unchanged, but that it should possess such vitality. This one sentence, “The just shall live by his
faith,” produced the Reformation! Out of this one line, as from the opening of one of the Apocalyptic seals, came forth
all that sounding of Gospel trumpets and all that singing of Gospel songs which made a sound like the noise of many waters
in the world. This one seed—forgotten and hidden away in the dark medieval times—was brought forth, dropped
into the human heart, made to grow by the Spirit of God and, in the end, to produce great results.
This handful of corn on the top of the mountains so multiplied that the fruit thereof did shake like Lebanon and they
of the city flourished like grass of the earth! The least bit of the Truth of God, thrown anywhere, will live! Certain plants
are so full of vitality that if you only take a fragment of a leaf and place it on the soil, the leaf will take root and grow. It
is utterly impossible that such vegetation should become extinct, And so it is with the Truth of God—it is living and
incorruptible—and, therefore, there is no destroying it! As long as one Bible remains, the religion of Free Grace will
live! No, if they could burn all printed Scriptures, as long as there remained a child who remembered a single text of the
Word, the Truth would rise again!
Even in the ashes of truth the fire is still living, and when the breath of the Lord blows upon it, the flame will burst
forth gloriously. Because of this, let us be comforted in this day of blasphemy and of rebuke—comforted because though
“the grass withers and the flower thereof falls away: but the Word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the Word by
which the Gospel is preached to you. Let us now examine this text which was the means of enlightening the heart of Luther,
as I shall explain to you, by-and-by.

The rest of this sermon by Spurgeon can be read here

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1 comment:

HeartnSoul said...

Great post! I love Spurgeon. On Truth That Transforms Dr. Kennedy talked about Martin Luther and Oct. 31, so we watched the movie "Luther" on Halloween night. We've seen it before but it was good to see again. The link to the audio is on my homeschoolblog; http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/HeartnSoul

Denise T