Pastor's Blog

Nailed It Posted 10.31.2014

On Friday night our culture was bent on having a good time.  The more gore the better.  The scarier the better.  The more evil the better.  But on that night something far more significant was itching to be celebrated.  But we probably missed it, though we shouldn’t have.  We should never forget an event that took place 497 years ago Friday, in Wittenberg, Germany. 


It was the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg which took the nails driven in by a hammer wielded by a certain Martin Luther.  Those nails were soon heard around the world, as Luther posted for all to see a list of 95 grievances against the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.  His goal was to provoke an academic discussion of contemporary theology.  But no one knew at the time, that what Luther did would spark a fire that would later become known as the Protestant Reformation.


On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to that church door.  A thesis is simply a statement being brought forward for debate.  So what he had done was create of checklist of discussion points he wished to discuss with the church leadership.  It wasn’t the holes in the door that brought anger – it was his theology.


An heir of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther was one of the most significant figures God has raised up since Augustine. This law student turned Augustinian monk became the center of a great controversy after his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Initially protesting the pope’s attempt to sell salvation, Luther’s study of Scripture led him to oppose the church of Rome on issues including the primacy of the Bible over church tradition and the means by which we are found righteous before God.


This last issue is probably Luther’s most significant contribution to Christian theology. The medieval bishops and priests had largely forgotten the truth that our own good works can by no means merit God’s favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and good works result from our faith, they are not added to it as the grounds for our right standing with God (Ephesians 2:8-10). Justification, God’s declaration that we are righteous, forgiven of sin, and pure in His sight comes because through our faith alone the Father imputes, or reckons to our account, the perfect righteousness of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).


And what Luther sparked that late October day would reverberate throughout European society for centuries.  Luther would eventually translate the Bible into German, putting the Word of God into the hands of people, not just the priests.  Church services would eventually be held in a language the congregation could understand.  Imagine that.  He championed the priesthood of all believers. 


It was an important moment in history.  We are counted among those who followed his interpretation of Scripture.  So don’t get distracted by the culture of fright….follow the light and remember this weekend the legacy of faithfulness begun by one man, Martin Luther.  May we follow his boldness of faith, boldness rooted in our personal study of the Word of God. 


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