500 years ago, a man named Martin Luther dug up the truth of the gospel in the Scriptures, and with it, changed the world. His purpose was not to initiate a mass rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church, but he did. Nor did he desire to distribute his 95 theses to the common people, but it happened. Luther was not thinking so grandiose as leading a revolt, but there was no stopping it. The God of the Scriptures cares about his gospel too much, and the representatives of the time were butchering the truth of the Scriptures and promoting their own agenda, so God stepped in and did it through a small man named Martin Luther. Now, I’m a big fan of summaries, so how would we summarize what happened through this movement called the Reformation?
To capture it in a sentence, I would say this: The primary goal of the reformation was to recover the truth of the gospel. And the goal was accomplished. But what is the gospel? How is it defined? The gospel is that man is saved from sin by faith alone in Christ alone, period. That was the heartbeat of the reformation. By Christ alone man is made right before God and that through faith, not by performing special works like touching the teeth of the Apostle Peter, or by touching the wood of the cross, or through paying for an indulgence, or by anything else. Christ the Lord is the Savior of mankind, and faith in him is the only possible way for anyone to be forgiven for their sin. The very heart of the gospel was found by Luther in the Scriptures and once he found it, there was no turning back. Everything changed for him. Everything he knew before was but shadows and dust: penance, purgatory, the authoritative nature of the Pope, etc. Luther carried out his convictions, and because he did this, the future of the Church of Jesus Christ was forever impacted. My prayer is this, that the Church of Jesus Christ would rise up and together with one voice proclaim and defend the truth of the gospel in our day, and that we would stand firm in it, not altering or veering from the plain truth of it whatsoever, and may we say with Luther,
“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” ~Martin Luther