Speaking of Martin Luther, Alister McGrath, professor of theology at Oxford, wrote, “By late 1514 Luther had arrived at the fundamental insight that the proper disposition for justification is humility…God humiliates man, in order that he may justify him; he makes man a sinner, in order that he may make him righteous─and both aspects of this matter are increasingly seen by Luther as works of God.”(Luther’s Theology of the Cross, pg 153).
Was Luther right? Does saving faith include a fundamental humbling? Must it motivate us to admit that “God is right. I am a sinner. God is holy. I cannot make it on my own. I need God’s help?”
If Luther is right, to bring people to this place we must tell them the truth. That’s what Paul did. He describes his methods in Romans 1:18-3:20. First he spent several paragraphs on the wrath of God. Then he turned to the inevitability of judgment. Last, he laid out mankinds utter moral bankruptcy. Only then did he present the Good News.