Martin Luther was a prolific writer of not only devotional reading and theology, but hymns as well. Eleven years after he nailed the 95 theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door he wrote one of my favorite hymns.
I’m not a huge fan of the music that accompanies A Mighty Fortress (it’s often played like a funeral dirge), but I love the theological depth of the lyrics and the victory they proclaim. I can imagine Luther hand in mind any number of castles that dotted the landscape in 16th century Germany.
Below are the lyrics:
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great;
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is for ever.
One of my favorite renditions was performed during the Promise Keepers Conferences by the Maranatha Promise Band.
Soli Deo Gloria! Our God is victorious and His kingdom is forever!
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