Happy Hallo… Reformation Day! On this day in the year 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, inadvertently starting the Protestant Reformation. So what, you ask? Well, the Christian church at that time had gotten off track, to say the least, leaving Luther despairing and angry at God. In time as he searched the Scriptures for himself, he rediscovered the gospel message… salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. Yes, Luther was right that on his own he was a hopeless, chronic sinner who could never please a holy God. But God, in His grace, sent Jesus to fulfill the Law that we never ever could. God’s justice is satisfied and we are free to receive His love and life eternal. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor; we can never be good enough. But we can rest and have peace because Jesus has done that for us. When we have faith in Jesus, we are at peace with God, a new creation, pure and blameless in His sight.
God is unchangeable, unshakable – nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing. That is why Luther could say “sin boldly,” meaning we don’t need to tiptoe around wondering and worrying whether we are good enough (we are not) or whether we’re making the right decision every time. We will still sin, but we stand on the firm and strong grace of God, and He is able to make us stand. We can be confident in our living because we are confident in God’s grace and His work on our behalf. “Sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for He is victorious over sin, death, and the world.”
Martin Luther didn’t set out to start a new church; he hated that the church split. His hope was that the church would see her errors and repent and return to the gospel of grace. He learned the truth and was changed by it and would not turn from it, even putting his life and the lives of others in jeopardy. He said, “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”