March 20, 2020
1Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Romans 5: 1-5
These are the verses that turned Martin Luther’s life around and that led to the
Reforming movement within the church that wall Lutheran. Luther’s life was one of spiritual and religious struggle and led to Luther’s term for the faithful life – anfechtung .It’s a term that means temptation, trial, tribulation and affliction all wrapped up into one multifaceted concept. And underlying all was the single defining concept of God’s grace – Luther’s recapturing of the understanding justified by grace through faith.
Luther struggles with a sense of his own sin, confessing for hours on end, afraid that if he left out one transgression, one temptation not overcome, he would suffer eternal damnation. God’s grace in Jesus Christ was the answer to that suffering. It is the answer to our own discomfort and uncertainty as we face the situation of global pandemic, self-imposed physical distancing, and financial uncertainty. Luther’s father confessor, Staupitz, told him – Look to Christ. That’s the word of hope that always comes with grace. Look to Jesus.
Let us pray.
God of grace, we listen for your voice. Quiet the restlessness of our hearts in these uncertain times. Rekindle the light of hope in our hearts as we trust in your steadfast and unfailing love; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.