Whitefield Academy Blog
Reformation Day 2020
Saturday is Reformation Day. On October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, voicing his displeasure with the church of his day. This sparked what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
One of the biggest debates during the Protestant Reformation was over authority. The Reformers argued that Scripture (God’s Word) alone was the Christian’s final and ultimate authority. As I reflect on their efforts, I am especially thankful for the following truths related to God’s Word.
I am thankful that I have access to God’s Word without a human mediator.
A key doctrine that came out of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. This doctrine states that all believers in Christ share in His priestly status. There is no special class of people that mediate Christ to the rest of believers. All believers can read, interpret, and apply the teachings of the Bible for themselves. This was radically different from the church in the 16th century, who emphasized the mediation of priests in order to gain access to God. Whether I feel it every time or not, I can meet Christ directly every time I open my Bible.
I am thankful that I have access to God’s Word in English.
I don’t speak Latin (Although I did study it for 8 years in school!). I would be lost if the only Bible I could access was read by a priest in Latin. One of the aims of the Reformers (and some pre-Reformers) was to get the Bible into the hands of the people and into the language of the people. By God’s grace, they succeeded. I don’t know about you, but I have no shortage of Bibles around my house (not to mention electronic access). It is a gift from God that I can read, interpret, and apply the teachings contained in the Bible without hindrance.
I am thankful for the gospel that is revealed in God’s Word.
Though the gospel was never lost, it was hidden in the traditionalism, superstition, and abuses of the medieval church. God used faithful men who studied God’s Word and saw the amazing news of the gospel: that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. These faithful men then proclaimed that news to the world. I am a recipient of that proclamation, and you are too! Here is how one of those faithful men, Martin Luther, reacted when he finally understood the gospel revealed in Romans 1:17, particularly Christ’s righteousness that is credited to the sinner’s account by faith:
“There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”
We, too, can have that reaction every time we meet Christ as revealed in the gospel through God’s Word. May we thank God for this amazing privilege.
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