(Wow! Okay… I’m all done being prideful now.)
At no extra charge, a little about the man. Prior to uncovering Paul’s words, “The just shall live by faith,” Luther was serving in a monastery (leaving his studies in law due to a very close encounter with a bolt of lightning). It is said that the priest manning the confessional loathed being there when Luther’s turn came to confess his daily sins. Luther was terrified that he might forget a sin and have to wait until the next day for forgiveness. His stays in the confessional were lengthy.
To express how distraught he was, these words were penned,
“In devil’s dungeon chained I lay,
The pangs of death swept o’er me.
My sin devoured me night and day,
In which my mother bore me.
My anguish ever grew more rife,
I took no pleasure in my life,
And sin had made me crazy.”
What is truly interesting is to see the prayer life of Martin Luther remaining diligent and urgent, even after his encounter with those famous words from Romans. He concluded the song above with these words,
“Thus spoke the Son, ‘Hold thou to Me,
From now on thou wilt make it.
I gave My very life for thee,
And for thee I will stake it.
For I am thine and thou art Mine,
And where I am our lives entwine,
The Old Fiend cannot shake it.'”
The difference it seems, was Luther’s prayers were once driven by shear terror, but after grace through faith, by love.