Tuesday, October 31, 2017

500 Years

Castle Church Wittenberg, Germany
 Today marks the 500th anniversary of what is accepted as the beginning of the Reformation.  Luther wanted to reform his church, but soon found irreconcilable differences. He put his life at risk, took advantage of new technology, and moved forward teaching a clearer understanding of God’s love for His people.

Here is what the reformation means to me:

Sola Scriptura

I do not have to try to decide which books speak the truth about God. I can turn to the Bible with complete confidence that not only is it God’s word, but it reveals itself. The Bible is more than a book of faith; it is the revelation of grace.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me. John 5:39

Sola Fide

It is not my responsibility to save myself or to make myself pleasing to God in order to earn salvation. I can do good works to show the love of God to others but my good works do not add up on some sort of score card. I cannot earn salvation; it has been earned for me and is given to me through my faith which is also a God-given gift. I am free to do good works out of thankful joy; not because of the burden of guilt.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Sola Gratia

I am a precious, beloved child of God because of God’s merciful disposition. He is not a sadistic task master; He is a loving Father who wants what is best for me even when I seek what is worst. This grace is serious, efficacious, and revealed to me through the means of grace: the Word and Sacraments. This grace comes to me because of the sacrifice and victory of Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Solus Christus

My salvation does not need anything but Jesus Christ and His redemptive love and actions.

Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. John 6:68

Martin Luther

I can see how God can work change through the work of a flawed, sinful, leader. God helped Luther to use his intelligence and passion to its utmost and accomplished His work in spite of Luther’s weakness and failings. 

God can use me, too; even me. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes  to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

God loves me, He saves me, He makes it possible for me to believe and to serve Him. He brings good out of my life, in spite of my sin.

These are simple, yet powerful, truths.

A mighty fortress is our God,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need 
That hath us now o’ertaken. 
The old evil foe. 
Now means deadly woe; 
Deep guile and great might 
Are His dread arms in fight
On earth is not His equal. 

With might of ours can naught be done, 
Soon were our loss effected;
 But for us fights the valiant One, 
Whom God Himself elected. 
Ask ye, Who is this? 
Jesus Christ it is, 
Of Sabaoth Lord, 
And there's none other God; 
He hold the field forever.

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