An Important Day to Remember

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This coming Thursday, the last day of this month, will officially mark the 496th anniversary of when the German Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, was finally moved to action.

Luther was in a spiritually awakened state because of his study of the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans coupled with increasing grief over the crass selling of indulgences by the Dominican friar Johann Tetzel (under the sponsorship of Archbishop Albert and Pope Leo X). Being a theologian and scholar of the first rank, he chose to nail his ninety-five theses of protest on the castle church door at Wittenberg (Germany) on October 31, 1517. (He actually aimed these theses at a select audience, his university colleagues, hence, the reason why they were written in Latin). This momentous event became the very catalyst that sparked the Reformation. Some have rightly described this watershed period in Church history as “Post Tenebras Lux” (i.e., After the darkness, light!). Why? Because after the Church, as we know it, was formed at Pentecost, it soon became deformed during the period commonly called the “Middle Ages” or “Dark Ages” (ca. 313-1517 A.D.). However, after this long period of spiritual darkness, God stirred Martin Luther to oppose the various unscriptural ecclesiastical ideas and practices of the Roman Catholic church and recover the Biblical Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16-17)! Thus, the reformed Church was established upon the understanding that “THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH” (Habakkuk 2:4). That is, the true Christian is saved by grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide), in Christ alone (Solus Christus), in order that God alone would receive all the glory in the salvation of “lost” sinners (Soli Deo Gloria). This righteousness is given to us by faith in Christ, “For our sake, He made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, to become sin, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And this life does not come in any way, by man’s work; however, it does produce a life that does work! Hear the apostle James, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26). So, when a man places his faith in Jesus Christ, alone, he becomes the recipient of Christ’s righteousness. Paul put it this way in Philippians 3:9:  “that I…may be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” Finally, from the Reformation until the latter part of the 19th century, the Protestant church could correctly have been called “the Church transformed” ….but not since. In fact, we find ourselves today in need of a new reformation. Let our thoughts then move this week toward such a vision that “Post Tenebras Lux” might once again become the widespread reality. Let us pray that our Lord would stir us to seek His face for a modern reformation and revival of His Church. So, have a “Happy, Happy, Happy Reformation Day” this Thursday, October 31st! 

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