Martin Luther’s Evangelical Breakthrough
Martin Luther later in his life would look back and say, “I came to this evangelical breakthrough.” And now the psychologist love it that he says, “I came to the evangelical breakthrough while sitting on the toilet.” Freudians have had a ball with that. What serious historians have noted is that actually there was no toilet where he said he was sitting and that in the idiom of that day, “Sitting on the toilet” meant being depressed, being melancholy, being down, down in the dumps. It’s not about a location. It’s about a spiritual state and Luther says, “I was really depressed about the state of my soul,” not depressed in a technical, psychological way. “I was sad. I was distressed about the state of my soul and in that state I began to think. If God is alive, I am dead.” He said, “I came to hate God because all I saw was a God of judgment.” He said especially the phrase “The righteousness of God filled me with fear and hatred. How could I ever measure up to a righteous God?” But now, his mind filled with Scripture. It suddenly all fell into place. He said, “It was like the gates of Paradise had open to me and I realized that what God’s talking about in the Bible is not the righteousness He demands of me but the righteousness He gives to me in Jesus Christ” and that’s what changed Luther’s whole world. That’s what made him a Protestant and I think that happened probably early in 1518 and turned Luther’s whole life around.