The Core of the Reformation
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
It's the Time of Year:
Fall colors are either in full bloom or, in my case, just starting. The weather is finally cooling off enough to have to think about wearing a jacket.
At the same time it is the season for reformation. It is the season for new life and a new start.
And for Martin Luther, on All Hallow's Eve, October 31, 1517, he posted his "95 Theses" to the church door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther wanted to debate, or discuss, 95 points of view that he saw as problems in the Roman Catholic Church that needed reforming. What he didn't expect was a firestorm that was God's doing to bring His Church back to the core. And that is,
Faith alone, and no activity or work we can ever do, will get us a relationship with God. Grace alone, and not my "works" that I do, opens the door to faith. For it is the grace of God through Jesus Christ that I am saved. And it is Scripture Alone that teaches, shares, shows, and convicts my heart and life to the will of God. The Holy Spirit works through His Word, and His Word alone, to bring people to the salvation given by Jesus.
And Martin Luther discovered this revelation when he was preparing for his lectures at the University of Wittenberg on the letter to the Roman church. Here is an excerpt from the letter from Romans 3:19-22a:
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no one is declared righteous before Him by the works of the law, for through the las comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God, which is attested by the law and the prophets, has been disclosed, namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe.
This was a trigger for Martin Luther to dive more into Scripture and find that our relationship with God is NOT based upon our works. It is based upon God through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Our life with God is a gift from Him.
We know, through the Word, Scripture alone, the work of God for us. Time after time God rescued His people from themselves. Yes, He had to discipline the children in order to get them to see God's rescue. And when they finally saw it, they repented of their sins, for Faith alone leads people to see that. Then God, through Grace alone, forgives and cleanses us from all unrighteousness through the body and blood of Jesus.
This is the core of Christianity that Luther rediscovered. This is the core of Christianity in which we live.
As Luther wanted, let us debate this, shall we?
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Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.