This is the week to celebrate the great Protestant Reformation! It was a young Roman Catholic monk, MARTIN LUTHER, who had rediscovered the Gospel of grace, and publicly posted his 95 contentions on October 31, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.
One of the primary concerns of the budding Reformation was: how is a man justified, how is one right with God? Their answer, taken from reading the Bible, was expressed in the Latin cry of SOLA FIDE — “by faith alone!” This explosive declaration stood in stark contrast with the prevailing Roman Catholic religion, of getting yourself right with God by working the sacramental system.
Dr J. I. Packer has written: So, where Rome had taught a piecemeal salvation, to be gained by stages through working a sacramental treadmill, the Reformers now proclaimed a unitary salvation, to be received in its entirety here and now by self-abandoning faith in God’s promise, and in the God and the Christ of that promise, as set forth in the pages of the Bible. …. Rome had said, God’s grace is great, for through Christ’s cross and his Church salvation is possible for all who will work and suffer for it; so come to church, and toil! But the Reformers said, God’s grace is greater, for through Christ’s cross and his Spirit salvation, full and free, with its unlimited guarantee of eternal joy, is given once and forever to all who believe; so come to Christ, and trust and take!
So the message of the Bible is not ‘get religious to become righteous’ but rather ‘trust and believe the Righteous One.’ St. Paul says as much in ROMANS beginning with his first words about the Gospel in 1:16-17.
Which course will you take: the religious/sacramental treadmill of self-improvement, or, the way of faith in Another’s righteousness?
Walking by faith in Christ,