HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!
One of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther appears below.
I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip [Melanchthon] and my Amsdorf [Nicholaus von], the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.*
You probably knew that Luther also taught and spent time with students and served as pastor. He kept busy much of his life. However, his point is still valid. What he could not do, what an earthly ruler could not do, God did! God weakened the papacy and brought about a reformation through His Word!
Due to God’s sovereign plan, imperfect men began to once again preach and teach His perfect Word! Post Tenebras Lux. After the darkness, light! Having heard the truth for the first time in their lives, people began to protest. Protestantism was born.
So many Americans today still consider themselves Christian or Protestant. They do so because they know they are not atheists or adherents to another religion. Consequently, the term has lost a bit of its significance. Christian used to mean disciple or follower of Christ. In the past, protestant meant holding to a faith and practice based upon the Scripture, not the edicts of councils and popes.
Another Latin phrase associated with the Reformation is Semper Reformanda. It means “always reforming.” Each October 31st (the date that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg) should serve as an opportunity for our self-examination.
Do I call myself a Christian? Do I say that I am a Protestant? If so, I need to evaluate my relationship with the Word of God. So many self-professed believers in God (they would call themselves “Christians”) do not spend any significant time reading and studying God’s Word. Thus, many of their beliefs and actions are in opposition to the ethic promoted by the Scripture. Even worse, although they know about the Lord, they do not know Him. And there is a difference! Furthermore, they think that their individual faith is sufficient and choose not to regularly gather with others for the purpose of mutual edification and worship.
So, what am I doing with God’s Word? What am I doing with it TODAY? Will any time be set aside to read it and contemplate how the stories and truths relate to my own life? Thanks to the reformers (men like Wycliffe, Luther, Melanchthon and Calvin) we have the Bible in our own language. We can understand it! But it is difficult to do if the book isn’t opened. The best way to honor those who risked their lives that we might possess the truth is to open The Book.
I’ll conclude with another Luther quote from his Tabletalk:
“Oh! how great and glorious a thing it is to have before one the Word of God!”