Goody From Woody: The Reformation - April 18, 2017

Goody From Woody: The Reformation - April 18

Have you read/heard these words?
 
“Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right not safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen”
 
These were the words of Martin Luther in his reply to the Diet of Worms (a Congress or meeting), when he was urged to recant his teachings about “Sola Gratia”. This Latin phrase used by Luther means “by grace alone”. This phrase was a battle cry for the Protestant Reformation. The basis of Christian salvation is solely the grace of God and not any human achievement. It is God’s initiative and action which is the agent of salvation.
 
These words: “here I stand”, are the most notable words in the Reformation, and they were spoken April 18, 1521. Luther spoke in German and was asked to repeat them in Latin.
 
No doubt Luther was concerned and perhaps a little worried. He was in front of Frederick the Wise, his friend, and four other electors. Frederick said of Luther, “he is too daring for me!” The next day four electors, but not Frederic, voted for condemnation of Luther.
 
As for the emperor, he reasoned that a single monk who went contrary to the whole Church could not possibly be right, and yet he was obedient to God’s Word.
 
Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, who had studied law but turned to God for help after being caught in a thunder storm, was searching for answers, and he found them in God’s Word.
 
The Word of God opened up to this man who was discouraged and discontented. As he read the book of Romans he noticed two things:

  1. 1. The severe corruption in his own church.
  2. 2. Salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone (Sola Gratia).

 
Here is how he said it:

“My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him (God). Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement, ‘the just shall live by faith.’”

“Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors."

Salvation broke through to this priest even though he was surrounded by corruption, false teaching and greed.
 
A few months later – October 31, 1517 – Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the castle at Wittenberg.
 
The Reformation is about how a person is saved. It is by Christ alone, through grace alone, by faith alone, through Scripture alone, for Christ alone and “sola deo Gloria” – for the glory of God alone!
 
I am writing this to help you think through how you were saved. The Gospel tells us we are enemies of God, dead in sin, and rebels against God. We are helpless without God.
 
We desperately need God to do what we can’t do for ourselves – to save us. We are not the “masters of our own destiny”, as the western culture teaches us. We are helpless unless God acts. The Bible says our hearts are “deceitful” (Jer. 17:9) If we never discover how sinful we are, we will never understand how amazing God’s grace and mercy are. Luther discovered this wonderful truth stated below.
 
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
  
Quotes taken from:

Roland H. Bainton; Here I Stand, A life of Martin Luther, New York, 1950