Impact of the Reformation

October 24, 2014 | by: Dustin Blumer | 0 comments

Posted in: Uncategorized

In the house I grew up in the major celebration at the end of October was...the

Reformation. Yep. Now I still went trick or treating, and had a lot of fun going as a football

player and a cowboy. But that was the low key event compared to our celebration of the

Reformation at church. I always envisioned mixing the two, dressing up as a monk for

Halloween and decorating my house with the Luther’s seal painted on the front lawn and blaring

one of Martin Luther’s great hymn’s “A Mighty Fortress” from my speakers. (maybe this year -

just kidding)

 

You may be wondering what the significance is of the Reformation is? You might even

be skeptical why something like this would be celebrated over Halloween and boat loads of

candy. (Halloween has only grown in popularity since I was a kid. And let’s be honest - who

doesn’t like to dress up and eat candy?) But let me share with you, if you allow me and are still

reading, why our house celebrated the Reformation. I don’t consider myself a historian, but I’ll

do my best.

 

The Reformation at it’s core was about returning back to God and the teachings of the

Bible. From the 1st century and for many centuries there was only one Christian Church - the

Catholic church. Catholic by definition means universal. The church rallied around Jesus - his

life, death, and resurrection and the salvation he won for all through the cross. But over time

the message of Christianity became clouded. The traditions of man were trumping the truth of

God’s Word.

 

How could this happen? Over time priests became the only ones with Bibles. Bibles

were very expensive to own. Before the printing press they were all hand copied. Priests were

often the only ones who understood the Bible, as the language for most Bibles was a dead

language, Latin. The services most Christians went to were long held in the Latin language -

even though many people couldn’t understand the words that were said. (I can’t imagine!)

In 1517 the Catholic Monk, Martin Luther, nailed 95 thesis to the All Saints’ Church door

in Wittenburg, Germany. The date in 1517 was...October 31st. The tradition he was so upset

about and wrote against in the 95 thesis was the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were pieces

of paper you could buy that basically bought your way to heaven. Luther had access to the

Bible and understood the Bible. He knew this teaching was directly against the message of

Jesus preserved in the Bible.

 

Consider Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and

this not from yourselves, it is is a gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” The

way of salvation cannot be about what we do - not the buying of indulgences, our prayers, our

acts of good toward others, our offerings - none of them would ever do the job. In fact the

prophet Isaiah calls our righteous acts filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), Paul would say anyone who

wants to be right by following the law will not be right by the law (Romans 3:20). Salvation is

only possible through Jesus who did it all for us with his perfect life, substitutionary death, and

glorious resurrection. All which comes as a gift to us through faith. This is the good news of

Jesus Christ.

 

So Martin Luther was used by God to uncover the truth of Jesus. Luther wanted many

more to see that salvation is by grace not by works, so he translated the Bible into the language

of his people, so that the common people could see for themselves the message of Jesus.

And so our house celebrated the Reformation, but it really wasn’t a celebration of a man,

Martin Luther. It wasn’t a celebration of the break from the Catholic Church - Luther actually

never wanted to break, he merely wanted to reform. No, the Reformation for us was a

celebration of grace. That we could see clearly the way of salvation was through Jesus as a gift

from God. That is something to celebrate!

 

This gift is also for you! He has saved us through the cross. I invite you to take up the

spirit of the Reformation this October 31st. Pick up a Bible and read more about it. Want a

good place to start? Romans is where Luther found salvation by grace. God bless.

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