“The just shall live by faith.” – Habakkuk 2:4
About five hundred years ago, in 1517 on the 31st of October the Protestant Reformation was set into motion. On this day, Martin Luther, who became known as the leader of the Reformation, nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg church. Martin Luther worded his opposition to the erroneous and dangerous practices of indulgences of the Church in this thesis. This was the result of interesting turns of events in Martin Luther’s personal life.
Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany. In 1501 he started with his law studies, but the sudden death of a friend awakened his soul to spiritual matters, and he decided to become a part of an Augustinian monastery. In the second year of his monastic life, at the age of twenty, he accidentally found a Latin Bible in the library. He was surprised to uncover that the Bible contained much more information than what the people was taught by Spiritual leaders.
Luther read the book of Galatians and it was through the reading of the Bible that he experienced a change inside of his heart. He experienced the life of God and simply shared it with the people around him. It is clear that it was not Luther or Calvin who produced the Reformation, but the word of God.
There is a beautiful and famous painting in the Convent Library of Erfurt. It portrays a twenty-four-year-old monk, who sits in the early hours of the morning and reads the Scriptures. In the painting, the dawn of light illuminates both the open Bible and the eager face of Luther. On the pages one can clearly see the words: ‘The just shall live by faith.”
God used that text to speak to Luther at three occasions and it greatly impacted and changed his life. It influenced him and became His live text: “the just shall live by faith “ (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38). Not only did that short, powerful text burn in Luther’s heart, it ignited Reformation fires that burned across Europe and shaped the history of the church in the centuries that followed.
Everyone has favorite Bible verses. Some people’s verses have brought great comfort to their own lives. However, it is necessary to ensure that the scriptures become a part of our lives, transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ and ignite the response of obedience that God desires from His children.