“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV).
Martin Luther is the main name associated with the Protestant Reformation. Historically the reformation is said to have begun on October 31, 1517, when he, at the age of 34, nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg… Luther’s goal was to reform the Church, not to separate from it; but, the Catholic Church had other plans, and thus the Protestant Reformation was born. And though what he wrote in his 95 Thesis changed the course of the Church that day, perhaps one of the most powerful things he wrote was written in April of the next year.
In April 1518, in his Heidelberg Disputation, Thesis 28, Luther wrote, “The love of God does not find, but creates that which is pleasing to it.” The idea behind this statement is the reformation principle Sola Gratia, or that salvation is by grace (gratia) alone (sola). In referring to the love of God this way Luther was referring to the grace of God, because it’s only by grace that God could ever love sinners like us. As Ephesians 2 says, God loved us even when we were dead. He loved us when there was absolutely nothing in us or about us to love. And though His love found us hopeless, helpless, and dead in sin, His love and mercy led Him to make us alive with Christ. As Luther said, the love of God did not find, but created that which is pleasing to it.
It is said that grace is God’s undeserved favor, but this definition falls short, because grace is so much more than that. All we deserve is death and hell, and yet God makes us alive and grants us eternal life all because of Christ. Jesus took the wrath we deserve upon Himself and gave us the favor He deserves. He made us new creations; He showered us in mercy and love all because of grace. The love of God found us dead and depraved, yet it made us alive together with Christ and enabled us to live for the glory of God in Christ. The love of God did not and does not find that which is pleasing to it, but by grace alone it creates that which is pleasing to it. Praise the Lord for His re-creating love, mercy, and grace!
I am nothing; Christ is all!