Post tenebrias lux
After Darkness, Light
You might think it strange. It is quite out of the norm. Every year our family celebrates the events surrounding the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. We do so for a variety of reasons. The most important reason, however, is the fact that the gospel rightly understood and applied affects our lives this very day. If the reformers proclaimed any truth, it was that of justification by faith. As opposed to the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification–a never-ending process by which believers maintain their standing before God–men like Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon and John Calvin taught that justification is declarative–a legal announcement coming forth from the throne of God which states that all those who have genuine faith in Jesus Christ are–once-for-all–made and proclaimed to be righteous.
Many passages could be employed to prove this wonderful doctrine. I tend to utilize Romans 3:21-26. This wonderful text follows a thorough description of the sinfulness of man, whether they be Jew or Gentile. The Word of God states,
“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Did you notice how that passage began? “But now…”! The law proved the need of a justification apart from obedience. The prophets proclaimed that a God-wrought justification would indeed come. And it did come– “in Jesus Christ“! Justification cannot be understood (or experienced) unless it is inseparably connected to the person and works of Christ. That’s why the reformers of the 16th century put such an emphasis on the Lord Jesus and His ministry–particularly His ministry through the cross. It was through refocusing upon these essential truths that the light began to shine among the people of God once again.
Today–Reformation Day 2012–finds me celebrating light!
Below is a link to a forty-minute sermon by Alistair Begg entitled “After Darkness, Light.” I would encourage you to watch it. He not only reviews the context of the Reformation, but he also aptly illustrates our need for justification and the glorious provision of justification by faith.