Grace, Embraced? Yes? No?

“Grace” has a nice sound to it.  If you say “Yes, I embrace grace”, it is good to remember, that there was a time when you could have been imprisoned, and brought to “the stake”. Here is a heads-up / warning.  The following two paragraphs are quite graphic (in words) about what a Christian martyr typically experienced at the stake, and is from one of my more reliable go-to websites … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_burning The only reason I include this section is to show a stark contrast between how some of us “handle” grace now, versus the volatility and violence associated with grace in the sixteen hundreds.  It may be wise to skip the second paragraph, unless you really want an image of what believers of Christ went through during this tumultuous time.  This really happened.

Roman authorities executed many of the early Christian martyrs by burning, sometimes by means of the  ( a shirt impregnated with flammable substances such as naphtha, used to execute people by burning in ancient Rome) a flammable tunic. From a particular source, Miley, John (1843). Rome … Under Paganism, and as it Became Under the Popes, Volume 1:
“… the Christian, stripped naked … forced to put on a garment … made of papyrus, smeared on both sides with wax … fastened to a high pole, from the top of which they continued to pour down burning pitch and lard, a spike fastened under the chin preventing the excruciated victim from turning the head to either side …”
Actually, there is more to the description, but I will stop there.  The rest is very disturbing.  If you feel you want to read the entire article, please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_burning.

Wes King, sings a piece, “Martin Luther“, about a man with the same name.

“… on Halloween in 1517 (Luther nailed) his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door.”  http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/martin-luther.html

Tempers flared among the well-dressed religious folks, who maintained a skyward opinion of themselves.  They were seriously ticked, discovering that a wild man had nailed a “95 Theses of Contention” on to their beautiful door of the Wittenberg Church.  This was Luther’s perspective,

“Luther now believed and taught . . . that salvation is a gift of God’s grace . . . received by faith and trust in God’s promise… to forgive sins for the sake of Christ’s death on the cross.  This, he believed was God’s work from beginning to end.” http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/martin-luther.html

Here are some of Wes King’s lyrics from the song:

On the eve of All Saints Day / The year was 1517 / I’m gonna light me on fire (Luther died of natural causes) / Flames of Truth are burning me  (metaphorical) / I’m gonna light me on fire / The world will come to see / This Truth that’s changing me / The chapel ceiling’s austere / No man would dare question Rome / … The door of Wittenburg / The Truth was finally heard … I cannot, I will not recant, Here I stand

Luther was not martyred because there were individuals who kept him safe.  Below is Luther’s Writing Table at the Wartburg.  Luther

“Luther had powerful friends among the princes of Germany, one of whom was his own prince, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. The prince arranged for Luther to be seized on his way from the Diet by a company of masked horsemen, who carried him to the castle of the Wartburg, where he was kept …”  http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/martin-luther.html

There are days that I find grace very difficult to receive, to embrace, to live with.  God forgiving me for my sins, my attempt to grasp grace, and my knowledge of Jesus dying a horrible death, is too much for me to grasp.  When I think of countless martyrs who died for their faith in Christ, proclaiming His grace, I am empowered to embrace grace, but not lightly.
WartburgThe Wartburg Castle, where Luther stayed following his exile..

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