The Reformation began October 31, 1517, five hundred years ago when a priest, professor, and monk by the name of Martin Luther challenged the church of his day for selling indulgences. He saw this and other prescribed works of the church to be in opposition to the Gospel. Salvation, forgiveness of sin, a right relation with God, cannot be bought with money or earned by works. From the Bible he had learned that “the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23), and that “By grace (the undeserved love of God) are you saved, though faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). Jesus Christ had cried from the cross, “It is finished (completed)” (John 19:30). He had paid in full the curse for sin for all humanity. This is the Gospel that was brought to light in the Reformation. The invitation rings out to all, “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The greatest insult to God is to reject or distort this Gospel. Hence the warning, “The one who does not believe will be damned” (Mark 16:16). Come to Peace Lutheran Church for this Gospel. Sunday service time is 9 a.m.
Working diligently and long hours should get one more pay. In our usual thinking that is a fair standard. It is natural to carry this thinking over to our relation with God. “Work hard and you will be in favor with God. Let your good deeds outweigh your bad and He will give you eternal life.” That is the thinking of every religion devised by mankind. The problem is that no one can be sure he or she has done enough. There can be no inner peace. Yet the default is “salvation by works” even within the church, when the Bible, the Word of God, is neglected. Five hundred years ago Martin Luther sought this peace with God in works, but failed.
Things changed for him when he read in the Bible, “The righteous out of faith shall live” and the object of that faith is Jesus Christ. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God being declared righteous, as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God set forth as a sacrifice to satisfy His justice” (Romans 1:27; 3:23-28). In that Luther found peace, and you can too. Sunday service time is 9:00 a.m.15
A newsletter reported that two professors extolled the values of the mid-20th century: “Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness….Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.” The letter goes on to report, “Almost immediately students, professors, and alumni circulated petitions accusing the two professors of racism, white supremacy, discrimination and bias.”
The opposition was not just to mid-20th century values. These “values” are part of the fruits of the Christian faith: living a chaste and decent life before marriage, honoring one’ spouse, bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, preparing for and seeking gainful employment to provide for the family. These “values” make for less poverty and a more stable society. Opposition to this way of life is also opposition to Christianity. On this 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we want to remember that a return to the Holy Scripture brought to people hope, life, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. The fruit of this faith is stronger marriages, a culture of freedom, and a care for one’s neighbor. This is what the devil and his minions would steal from you. Sunday Service at Peace Lutheran Church is at 9:00 a.m.
The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation (dated as Oct. 31, 1517) is portrayed by our LORD’S cleansing the temple (Matthew 21:12-17). The unthinkable was going on in the temple, mercenary profiting from selling animals and exchanging money. Jesus drove them out quoting, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” When the Word of God is neglected the visible church degenerates into a den of thieves. The peace, forgiveness, hope, new life which the church is to convey to people through the proclamation of the finished work of Christ on the cross is inevitably robbed from the people when the Word of God is supplanted by the wisdom of man.
The Reformation was a cleansing of the church by returning it to the Word of God, to Christ, to forgiveness, to peace and eternal life as a gift received by faith in Christ. “Lord Jesus, cleanse us and our churches daily.” Sunday service time at Peace Lutheran Church is 9:00 a.m.