A Mighty Fortress is our God
Almost 500 years have passed since Martin Luther penned those famous lines in his hymn that say,
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill,
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Luther wrote the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" (German: "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott") sometime between 1527 and 1529. The story goes that when he wrote the words of this hymn, which is based on Psalm 46, and when he composed the melody, he was in the same church where he posted his "Ninety-five Theses" or "Disputation on the Power of Indulgence."
The hymn's message is timeless because it is based on the truth of the Scripture that God is our sure defense, our strong refuge in times of trouble. In this hymn we can still see and hear Luther's words of confidence in God and in His authoritative and powerful Word.
Luther believed that even though his possessions may be taken away from him, his friends and family may forsake him, and his enemies may silence him or put him to death, God's word will remain and will prevail. His enemies may triumph over him but they cannot trump the truth of God and the kingdom of God.
Luther stood on and strengthened himself in the authority of God's word in front of religious and civil authorities of his time. Those authorities have pressured him to recant and abandon his beliefs and teachings.
Luther wrote treatises and tracts advancing the truth and criticizing the erroneous teachings and traditions of the medieval Roman Catholic Church that run contrary to the teachings of Christ and His apostles and have no warrant from the Bible.
This German monk and professor of theology was bold in his assertion that he cannot change his mind pertaining to the teachings of the Bible. He did not yield to the pressures of the authorities knowing that the Word of God, the Holy Scripture, is the ultimate and highest authority to appeal to in matters of doctrines and conduct in life.
So Luther stood firm because he knew that the Word of God and the kingdom of God shall prevail. And the Word did, and it does, and it shall remain forever.
The enemies of Christ and His kingdom may silence the preacher of the gospel. They may dispossess believers of their properties or put them in prison. They may burn church buildings or Bibles. They may put to death everyone who confesses Christ as Lord and obey His truth.
However, they cannot prevail over the power of God to save sinners, which is the gospel. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ shall conquer with the Word of God. The kingdom of God shall prosper and endure. The Son of God will come to judge the living and the dead. One will be wise to bow down and serve King Jesus now or be sorry later.
Even kings and rulers of this world must take heed. "Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him" (Psalm 2:10-12, ESV).