Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day

Today, 490 years ago, Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 points of debate to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This is sometimes portrayed as an "I'll show you" act of defiance on the part of Luther. Such was hardly the case. The church door was the community bulletin board. Luther was merely asking for an academic debate on points regarding the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church.

The radicalness of what Luther was asking for came to light when these 95 points were printed and published throughout Germany by someone other than Luther. This is a day worth celebrating for the Bible-believing Christian. While the desire for reform in the church didn't start with Luther, the actual ability to begin reforming the church started during the time of Luther (Prior reformers were either killed or otherwise effectively repressed).

The issues which came to be seen as the core issues for church reform then remain with us today. Perhaps the central issue raised by the Reformation is not merely about the necessity of the grace of God in our lives. It is, as Dr. James White has pointed out repeatedly, not the necessity of the grace of God of but its' sufficiency. In the issue of our standing right and acceptable before God (justification), is God's grace sufficient for us or merely a means to "reduce the gap" that separates us from a holy God and allows us to finish the job?

The Reformers would emphatically state that God's grace in standing in the right before Him was not the means to help us to work to finish our salvation. It is sufficient due to what Christ has done and not us. We live in an era in which those who want to add human merit to the work of Christ are gaining a greater voice. In response, we must affirm that when Christ said on the cross "It is finished", He really meant just that. Such a gospel humbles us. We are not co-redeemers with Christ. Christ holds that position alone. The Reformers re-discovered the legacy of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Today is a wonderful day to remember that legacy and the Gospel of grace which frees us through Christ alone.

In the words of the song "Be Ye Glad"...
Be Ye Glad, O, be ye glad
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full
by the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad...

Happy Reformation Day!!!