Every October 31, a lot of our society will be concentrated on costumes, candy, and other "spooky" things. However for Protestants (and pretty much everyone who's not Roman Catholic), we have something even more substantial to commemorate on October 31. It's Reformation day, which represents what is probably the greatest move of the Holy Spirit since the days of the Apostles. Yet what is the true significance of Reformation Day, and what should we remember about the events surrounding it?
At the time, few would have suspected that the hammer striking the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, would echo so a quickly around the world and would ultimately lead to one of the greatest movements and transformations of Western society since the apostles first taught the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Martin Luther's nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, created a debate that concluded in what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
A successor of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther is just one of the most considerable numbers God has actually elevated up since that time. The law student turned Augustinian monk ended up being the center of an intense conflict after his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Initially objecting the pope's attempt to sell redemption, Luther's study of Bible quickly led him to oppose the church of Rome on several fronts including the primacy of the Scriptures over church practice as well as the means through which we are found right before the sight of God.
This last concern is possibly Luther's most significant contribution to Christian theology. Though clearly taught in the New Testament as well as found in the writings of much of the church fathers, during the middle ages bishops and clergyman had forgotten the fact that our own good works will never gain God's favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and that good works arise from our faith. Those good works are not added to improve our standing before God (Eph. 2:8 -10). Justification, God's declaration that we are not guilty, forgiven of sin, and righteous in His sight comes because through our faith alone the Father imputes, or reckons to our account, the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21) .
Martin Luther's rediscovery of this reality brought about a whole host of other church and also societal reforms and also much of what we take for granted in the West would certainly have likely been impossible had he never been present. Luther's translation of the Bible into German placed the Word of God in the hands of the people, and today Scripture is offered in the vernacular language of numerous nations, allowing lay people to study it with reward. He reformed the Latin mass by putting the celebration in the common tongue to make sure that non-scholars can listen to as well as recognize the preached word of God as well as worship the Lord with clarity. Luther lifted the unbiblical restriction on marital relationship for the clergy as well as by his very own mentor and also example significantly changed the organization itself. He recaptured the scriptural view of the priesthood of all believers, showing all people that their work had objective and also dignity because in it they can serve their Maker.
Today, Luther's tradition survives in the creeds and confessions of Protestant churches worldwide. As we consider his relevance this Reformation Day, let us equip ourselves to be well informed voices and protectors of scriptural truth. May we aspire to preach the Gospel of God to the world and to continue to engage in the reformation of church as well as culture.