As a young man, Luther was frightened of God. for the church taught that each person had to do things or pay money to earn God's favor. Luther, realizing that he was not a perfect person (as none of us are), knew that he could never do enough or pay enough to deserve God's love. And if not, then what? Eternal condemnation and punishment! A pretty scary thought.
Bible verses such as "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" made all the difference in the world to Luther. This verse is really a good summary of what it is to be a Lutheran. Since God's love and forgiveness come to us as free gifts, we can live serving God not fearfully because we have to but gratefully because we want to