Some Christians become deeply troubled when they think about their sinfulness. They long for purity, yet they see only evil within their heart. Guilt torments their minds and they may even doubt their salvation.

Martin Luther struggled with this problem. When he entered the monastery at Erfurt, Germany, he devoted himself to prayer, fasting, and service in an effort to gain relief from the weight of his sins. But the burden remained.

It was the simple testimony of John Staupitz, the dean of the theological faculty, that brought light to his troubled soul. He urged Luther to look away from his dark thoughts and cast himself completely in the Redeemer’s arms. “Trust the righteousness of His life and the atonement of His death,” he said.

Luther did that and found peace. But a short time later he began doubting. “Oh, my sin, my sin, my sin!” he lamented. With utmost kindness, the dean told him that his great sorrow for his sin was his greatest hope. He said, “Know that Jesus Christ is Savior even of those who are great, real sinners, and deserving of utter condemnation.”

Each day let’s thank Jesus for dying for us. He is a real Savior for real sinners.