Martin Luther died in the early morning hours of February 18, 1546. His final words echo the seminal discoveries he made, and fought for: We are beggars. This is true.
Beggars, indeed — because God demands a righteousness we cannot produce. One, in fact, that if we could produce would nullify the grace of God and the meaning of Jesus’s sacrifice (Galatians 2:23). Embodying devotion to the sacred Scriptures, Luther came to understand that we need an “alien righteousness,” outside ourselves. We need a righteousness produced and provided for us by another.
And this understanding came in part by means of study. Luther gave himself to God’s Book, which he later explained as the primary actor in the Reformation. The legacy of his dying words in 1546 find their roots in this conviction — a conviction when bloomed into Ninety-Five Theses and nailed to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, changed the world.
John Piper says we have much to learn from Luther. Originally delivered as the biographical message at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, this short book presents a sketch of Luther’s life and distills relevant lessons for all Christians, especially pastors and leaders.