It’s a question that most religious people ask themselves at some point. 500 years ago it was the question that tortured a German monk called Martin Luther. He put it differently: "What good works can proceed out of a heart like mine; how can I, with works like these, stand before a holy Judge?”.
31 October 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the day that, driven by conviction, he took a hammer and went to the Facebook of its day, the local church door in the town of Wittenberg, and nailed up his ’95 Theses’ for all to consider. He didn’t want to start a new church, just to fix the old one. He didn’t know that somebody would copy the 95 Theses, print them, and cause them to ‘go viral’. He had no idea what a ‘Reformation’ was or would become. His motivation, right at the top of the page, was clearly stated. It wasn't political or revolutionary, it was almost a plea – “out of love for the truth and from the desire to make it plain”.
Luther had found that he could never be good enough. Nobody could ever be good enough. Despite the claims of the Church to be able to forgive sin, the Bible said otherwise. Yet, in the most mind-boggling plot-twist, it turned out that the perfect standard that Luther’s dusty old monastery library Bible scrolls said that God requires, He had in fact already provided. Jesus Christ is not just a good moral example. He is Mediator-Advocate-Substitute.
I’ve had the privilege of working on some materials which have just been published to help tell Luther’s story - I did a wee bit of writing but mostly graphic design. The whole thing was planned, masterminded, researched, written and project-managed by Robert Campbell, a man uniquely placed to make it all happen - and the outcome has been praised by none less than Dr Carl Trueman.
I can be a bit authenticity-obsessive (you might have noticed that if you are a regular reader here) and so I even managed to locate some (supposedly) 16th century nails from Germany on eBay, for the main project image.
You can read the five booklets free at www.luther1517.org.