Yesterday I taught Bible study. Each Tuesday as we immerse ourselves in the pages of Genesis, using Nancy Guthrie’s book The Promised One as our guide, we are exalting in God’s glorious plan to redeem a people for Himself and His own glory through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. Every week–in a study of Genesis, yes and amen–we declare the amazing truth of gospel grace: that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone.
A few hundred years ago this sort of proclamation could have resulted in a call to recant at the very least, perhaps even trial and execution, often by means of burning at the stake. Indeed the privilege to preach the truth of Christ’s righteousness granted to us by no other means but the Lord’s favor–justification by faith–is one purchased for us through the blood of many martyrs for the faith.
Church history is, sadly, something I know little about. I was never taught–or, perhaps it is better said that I never learned–the rich legacy of those saints who fought the good fight before me and for me.
Today will be celebrated by trick or treating and other various fall-ish activities. But October 31 is tremendously important for those of us who love the gospel, who know themselves debtors to grace, who preach and teach Jesus, and who study His Word in a language we know and understand. It is Reformation Day, the date that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Door.
Below is a re-posting from October 31 of last year. I offer it yet again in the hopes that, like mine, your heart will be stirred by the realization that many of the blessings and privileges we know have come to us through the faithful lives–and deaths–of the Reformers.
In addition to the links and resources I list below, here are a couple more that will serve to pique your interest in the Reformation:
Happy Reformation Day!
From October 2011…
From the time I was a girl, I have been taught that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. I’ve read and studied God’s Word using numerous Bibles over the years, from the children’s Living Bible I received in Sunday school as a child to the ESV study Bible I currently use. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered these are privileges granted to me through the Reformation.
October 31 is, to most of us, Halloween. It is also the date that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg in 1517. What does a monk and a long list of grievances against the Catholic church and its sale of indulgences have to do with me today? For those of us who joyfully and humbly exalt in justification by grace through faith, everything. Luther’s assertion that God’s righteousness is imputed to us through the work of Christ was so radical that he was called to recant or face execution, to which Luther replied,
“Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture or by evident reason, I cannot recant, for my conscience is held captive by the Word of God, and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”
An uproar ensued and surely Luther would have been killed if not for his friends staging a kidnapping. Thus the Reformation began.
Not only that, but did you know that many Reformers died cruel and horrible deaths because they believed the Bible ought to be available to the common man in his own language? Consider that next time you open the Word and read it in language you understand.
We owe a great debt to Martin Luther and it is tragic that so many of us who profess faith in Christ know so little of this critical event in history. If you are like me and never really considered the Reformation nor its influence on the Christian faith, here are a few links to pique your interest…
Luther and the Reformation–a short overview from R.C. Sproul on the events of October 31, 1517
Abandon the Reformation, Abandon the Gospel–From The Gospel Coalition, a synopsis of the historical events and how they ought to influence churches today
Here’s the scene as imagined by the movie Luther (which I enjoyed immensely):
Happy Reformation Day!