A Soul In Search of Salvation

The Story of Martin Luther and the Reformation

Part 3

Standing Fast before the Sovereign

In the spring of 1521, the Parliament of the German state assembled and demanded the appearance of Luther. Obedient to the crown, Luther journeyed to Worms, believing that he had been summoned to debate his positions. That was not to be the case. Luther was really being summoned to recant his position at the insistence of the Emperor, Charles V.

In Worms, late in the afternoon, 4:00 PM, April 17th, Luther was ushered into a large room, where the nobility of the land had assembled, including the king and the royalty of Rome. His books were spread on a table. Luther was to answer two questions in a simple and straightforward manner: “Are these your writings?” “Will you recant the writings and the beliefs that they contain?”

For the moment Luther was caught off guard. He had come to debate his works, not to renounce them. In desperation Luther asked for more time to consider the request, and time was given. Luther was to return the next afternoon.

Confessing Christ before Godless Men

At the appointed hour Luther re-appeared. He was ready to answer the questions. Yes, the writings were his, and no, he would not recant what he had written, for this reason:

“Not all of the books are of the same kind: some deal with matters of faith which popes and priests alike have universally applauded as being worthy of a Christian’s perusal. Others do attack the papacy, and the teaching of the papist. But what is that? Truth is truth! Therefore, Your Most Serene Majesty and Your Lordships, since they seek a simple reply, I will give one that is without horns or teeth, and in this fashion:

I believe in neither pope nor councils alone; for it is perfectly well established that they have frequently erred, as well as contradicted themselves.

Unless then I shall be convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I must be bound by those Scriptures, which have been brought forward by me; yes, my conscience has been taken captive by these words of God. I cannot revoke anything, nor do I wish to; since to go against one’s conscience is neither safe nor right: here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

Peace at Last

It had been a long journey for this soul in search of salvation. But Martin Luther had found peace with God at last, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. With Paul, Luther finally knew by personal experience that there is “now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 5:1)

 The Great Invitation

Perhaps someone reading these words is a soul in search of salvation, or you know of someone searching. It is our earnest prayer that God the Holy Spirit will help you to see in this very hour that “the just shall live by faith.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). We say this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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