“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”Galatians 1:3
If you asked Martin Luther to explain Christianity, you might expect a long answer. Maybe 95 theses, like those he famously nailed to the chapel door of the Wittenberg Castle church 500 years ago this month. You might be surprised that Luther could summarize Christianity in two small, powerful words: grace and peace. Referring to Galatians 1:3, he said grace leading to peace is the core of the Christian faith. That’s Christianity 101.
Luther explained the problem with our instinctive impulse to make peace with God by obeying God’s commandments: “Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the law. The law reveals guilt, fills the conscience with terror, and drives people to despair.” The law never leads us to peace with God. It reveals sin but can’t remove sin. It tells us what to do, but it doesn’t give us power to do it. “The fact is,”
says Luther, “the more a person seeks credit for himself by his own efforts, the deeper he goes into debt. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God.”
Remember this basic lesson: you have an endless storehouse of God’s grace!
“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.”
(Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, 1535)