Reformation is the main focus of many congregations across Christendom as the month of October comes upon us. To capture the true nature and spirit of the Reformation we may first ask is it even relevant?
Consider the context. 1300, centuries of prosperity and growth came to an end due to a series of plagues and famines which reduced the population by half. Along with these calamities came social unrest, peasant uprisings and endemic warfare.
Martin Luther was a son of his times. Like many others, he wrestled with profound “angst” and uncertainty regarding the state of his soul. The key question for him was, “How do I find a merciful God?” His search for consolation and hope drove him into the arms of Scripture. It was through his study of Scripture that he found the answer to his uncertainty in the words of the Apostle Paul, who claimed, “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28) 1 Luther placed his focus on the implications that the cross offers to us.
There is now forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation! In Jesus Christ, all sin is forgiven - period! That is the battle cry of the Reformation. That's what our Lutheran faith is all about. As the catechism so clearly reminds us, "where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation." These are the gifts and blessings which have been offered to us through Jesus Christ through His innocent suffering and death. Because of a cross and an empty tomb, we are a free and forgiven people.
What is the reality of this forgiveness, freedom, and life? "That I might be His own and live before Him in His kingdom and serve Him in righteousness, innocence and blessedness." Jesus is risen from the dead. When Christ died, death died. When He died, sin's sting and power died. When Jesus died and rose again, Satan's grip was weakened. Jesus now lives throughout all eternity to bless me, to guide me, to forgive me, and to direct my life.
What is your response to all this? "To thank and praise, to serve and obey Him." The Father has given you these and so many other precious gifts. You response is to serve Him all the days of your life. Bask in His forgiveness. Serve Him with vigor and virtue. You have been born to be a blessing. Bless God by being a blessing to others!