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10/31/20 Weekend Grif.Net – Reformation Day

10/31/20 Weekend Grif.Net – Reformation Day

What is Reformation Day? – Stephen =
Nichols, Ligonier Ministry

A single event =
on a single day changed the world. It was October 31st, 1517. =
Brother Martin, both a monk and a scholar, had struggled for years with =
his church, the church in Rome. He had been greatly disturbed by an =
unprecedented indulgence sale. The story has all the makings of a =
Hollywood blockbuster. Let’s meet the =
cast:

First, there =
is the young bishop—too young by church laws—Albert of =
Mainz. Not only was he bishop over two bishoprics, he desired an =
additional archbishopric over Mainz. This too was against church laws. =
So Albert appealed to the Pope in Rome, Leo X. From the De Medici =
family, Leo X greedily allowed his tastes to exceed his financial =
resources. Enter the artists and sculptors, Raphael and =
Michelangelo.

When Albert of =
Mainz appealed for a papal dispensation, Leo X was ready to deal. =
Albert, with the papal blessing, would sell indulgences for past, =
present, and future sins. All of this sickened the monk, Martin Luther. =
Can we buy our way into heaven? Luther had to speak =
out.

But why =
October 31st? November 1 held a special place in the church =
calendar as All Saints’ Day. On November 1st, 1517, a =
massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at =
Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, =
genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of =
years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. =
None of this seemed right.

Martin Luther, =
a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his =
95 Theses on October 31st, 1517. These were intended to spark =
a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the =
church. The 95 Theses sparked far more than a debate. The 95 Theses also =
revealed the church was far beyond rehabilitation. It needed a =
reformation. The church, and the world, would never be the =
same.

One of =
Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true =
treasure is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” That alone =
is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the =
gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s =
Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about =
systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the =
Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t =
Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is =
light?”
Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the =
liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is =
Reformation Day? It is the day the light of the gospel broke forth out =
of darkness. It was the day that began the Protestant Reformation. It =
was a day that led to Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and many =
other Reformers helping the church find its way back to God’s Word =
as the only authority for faith and life and leading the church back to =
the glorious doctrines of justification by grace alone through faith =
alone in Christ alone. It kindled the fires of missionary endeavors, it =
led to hymn writing and congregational singing, and it led to the =
centrality of the sermon and preaching for the people of God. It’s =
a celebration of a theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural =
transformation.

So we =
celebrate Reformation Day. This day reminds us to be thankful for our =
past and to the Monk turned Reformer. What’s more, this day =
reminds us of our duty, our obligation, to keep the light of the gospel =
at the center of all we do.

 

~~

Dr Bob Griffin =

bob@grif.net =
www.grif.net

"Jesus =
Knows Me, This I Love!"