The Importance Of The Reformation Today

“Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason---I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other---my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.  Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me, Amen.” – Martin Luther, Diet of Worms in 1521

This weekend we celebrate the Reformation and remember the anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517. There are three major reforms that still empower the church today. The first is the Reformation’s emphasis on just Scripture from 2 Timothy 3:15 (Sola Scriptura). Even today, it is refreshing to know that the Bible is enough for us. We don’t rely on the fallible opinions or traditions of human beings that could lead us astray. We base our entire faith on the Word of God. The Bible is sufficient enough to teach us everything we need to be saved. This has freed the church from wrong beliefs and teachings that damage its witness in the world. Knowledge is power!

The second is the Reformation’s emphasis on just faith from Ephesians 2:8-9 (Sola Fide). The church returned to the basics of the Bible, that we are saved by faith alone, not faith plus works. The Reformation didn’t do away with good works, but put them in their proper place. Works are a response to our faith in what God has done for us by grace. It is freeing to know that God has completed our salvation through the work of Christ on the Cross. It is also freeing to know that I don’t do good things for others through coercion, but through genuine love of my neighbor. True generosity is powerful!

The third is the Reformation’s emphasis on the priesthood of all believers from 1 Peter 2:5 (Sola Christus). If Jesus Christ saves us alone, then as a Christian I have direct access to God through Him. Wow! No more going through a priest, pope, or a saint to access God. The Bible teaches that all Christians are priest before God. All Christians can do ministry. All Christians can work to bring people to faith in Jesus. All Christians have a holy calling in their vocation to serve their neighbor. Spiritual equality is freeing!

To people of all nationalities the first Protestants bequeathed in spite of themselves a heritage of spiritual freedom and equality, the consequences of which are still working themselves out in the world today. -Stephen Ozment, "Protestants”

God Bless,

Pastor Joel