The primary reason he was persecuted was his uncompromising stand on the grace of God.
He explained his radical view of grace to his friend, Melanchthon:
If you are a preacher of grace, do not preach a fictitious, but a true grace; and if grace is true, carry a true, and not a fictitious sin. Be a sinner and sin vigorously…. It is sufficient that we recognize the wealth of God’s glory, the lamb who bears the sin of the world; from this, sin does not sever us, even if thousands, thousands of times in one day we should fornicate or murder.”
Now that’s some radical grace.
Interesting, isn’t it? His words are still upsetting the religious and the self-righteous today.
Do these words upset you?
How many fornications and murders in a day would you say the blood of Christ makes payment for?
Are you okay with maybe two or three?
How about lies? Is ten the limit?
What if we overeat only once or twice a week?
How about gossip? How many people do we need to hurt to disqualify ourselves from the grace of God in Christ?
Before you get too upset at the hyperbole from Luther’s pen and the ridiculous idea of someone actually having the time and the energy to commit murder and fornication thousands of times in one day, think about how upset God must be.
People who name the name of Christ actually claim to decide for Him what type of and how many sins His Son’s death on the Cross actually made payment for.