Luther’s Pronouns! A Personal Gospel

Time to read: 3 mins

Do you know what a pronoun is?!

In case grammar is not your strong point, pronouns are words like: I, you, me, she, he, her, him, we, us, they, them.

So, why the English lesson? Have a look at this quote from Martin Luther.

The sweetness of the gospel lies mostly in pronouns, [such] as me, my, thy – “Who loved me, and gave Himself for me”, “Christ Jesus my Lord”, ” Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee”.

What is he getting at?

Perhaps you are tempted to think that that there is no way the gospel can be for you, that you are too bad and can’t come up to God’s standard? Maybe you worry that you seem to feel so little, or are hardhearted and cold in your faith? It is easy to think that the gospel message is all very well for great and godly men like the Apostle Paul or Martin Luther, but how could it possibly be for you?

This is where the pronouns are encouraging. Luther’s point is that the gospel is personal and for each of us as individuals. The Bible doesn’t limit it to giants of the faith like Paul and Peter, Luther and Calvin, but is full of prayers, promises and invitations that are there for ‘you’ and ‘me’.

A few examples:

  • Look at all the prayers in the Bible. They were prayed by individuals and they are recorded so that we can take them and pray them as well:
    • Pray with David, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God…’ (Psalm 51:1).
    • Pray with Peter, ‘Lord save me‘ (Matthew 14:30).
    • Pray with the desperate father, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ (Mark 9:24 ESV)
  • Look at all the promises given to God’s people in the Bible:
    • ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee‘ (Jeremiah 31:3)
    • Thy sins are forgiven thee‘ (Luke 5:20)
    • ‘Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine’ (Isaiah 43:1)
  • Look at the gospel invitations in the Bible:
    • ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28)
    • ‘Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth’ (Isaiah 45:22)

Of course, to be a real Christian means experiencing the reality of these things for ourselves. When the Holy Spirit works in someone, he teaches them lots of lessons and these are not just theory. His lessons are taught in such a way that we live it and experience it for real. In a way it is a bit like going back in time and living through history rather than learning dates and facts in a classroom at school.

Joseph Hart summed this up in one of his hymns,

True religion’s more than notion,
Something must be known and felt.

We all need to think about this carefully. True Christianity must be personal, it must get to the very core of our being and we must feel it in our hearts. We must know and feel our sinfulness and the absolute necessity of the Lord Jesus alone as our Saviour.

Again, maybe you worry that this sets too high a standard for you, or you wonder whether you have really known anything at all. So come back to Luther’s pronouns again; those prayers, promises and invitations that in faith each Christian can embrace, pray, believe and take for his or her very own. As Luther says, these pronouns are very sweet as they bring the gospel to each of us individually.

How incredible, how encouraging!

Does it resonate with you at all?

[A00122 – 06/11/2019]

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