I hope you’re doing well in the Lord!
The reason why I am writing this to you today is not because it is Halloween. It is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We usually associate the start of the Reformation with the day that Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, nailed his 95 Theses (Propositions) on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany.
His goal was not to create huge controversy in the church. It was not to break off from the Roman Catholic Church and lead the way for the rise of other denominations. His goal was to question the practices of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the selling of indulgences to lessen the punishment for sins of an individual, whether dead or alive. His goal was to start an academic disputation. However, what started out as a disputation changed the course of the church forever.
His 95 Theses spread quickly as a call to reform not just the practices of the church but the authority of the church. After studying the book of Romans in depth, he realized that Justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone. And the final authority should not be the church, but it should be the authority of Scripture alone.
Up to this point, Martin Luther struggled with what it meant to be saved. Although he was a pious and devout monk, he realized that he was still a terrible sinner. He realized through Paul’s writings that the only way one can be justified (counted as righteous) is by faith, not by any works. It was to have an alien righteousness (the perfect righteousness of Christ) imputed to them.
His 95 Theses triggered a chain of events that led to the rediscovery of the gospel and the faithful proclamation of the Word. This did not only change the face of the church, but it changed the face of society and life forevermore. Since then, the leaders of the church have carried the torch of the gospel, and it’s a torch we need to carry today.
May you be mindful this day and this week about the Reformation. We do not only celebrate a great man who sacrificed his safety and wellbeing for the sake of his disputation. More than that, we celebrate a great God who used a broken man to bring the church back to its root and center: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have listed a couple links for you if you’re interested in reading more about the Reformation and its significance today.
In the very least, take some time to meditate on the simple truth of the gospel and to thank God for His grace. Without the Reformation, there would be no rediscovery of the gospel. And without the rediscovery of the gospel, we would not be saved.
Praise God that we have a gracious and merciful God who saved sinners like us through the sending and sacrificing of His one and only Son! Praise God that we can hear such good news that has been passed down through the generations and be saved forevermore!
I’m thankful for you, and I am praying for you. May we continue to carry the torch of the Reformation by living in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Talk to you tomorrow for this week’s Word of Encouragement.
A quick history on Martin Luther:
A brief overview on the 5 solas (a doctrine that emerged from the Reformation):
Photo credit: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/6-ways-to-celebrate-reformation-500-this-sunday