The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Psalm 34:7
This is one of the most remarkable passages in the Psalms. We can claim it as our own. But you might say, “I don’t see or feel God’s angels around me. Actually, I feel like I am under the power of the devil and am being led to hell.” My answer would be, “Don’t let yourself think that way! If you had been handed over to the devil, he wouldn’t let you live one hour without plunging you into a life of crime. As a matter of fact, he probably wouldn’t even give you time to do anything wrong, but would kill you right away. You are still alive because of the protection of the holy angels. The time will come when you have to leave this earth, and with God’s permission, you may be subjected to Satan’s anger. But God, in his mercy and grace, will strengthen you through his Word.
When you are handed over to Satan, it will only be for a very short time. This isn’t to condemn you but to test you, to bring about salvation and endless blessings. Christ said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John12:24). In the same way, Christ was handed over to murderers, but only for a short time and to bring about salvation. So when you feel Satan bothering and tempting you, pray and thank God that you won’t fail but that you are only going through a trial in order to be purified. Jeremiah comforts us by saying, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations3:21-22).
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.