Dr. Samuel Harbin shares some insights on the Reformation on its 500th anniversary.martin luther

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Martin Luther & The Reformation

October 31, 2017

martin luther

Although young Martin Luther never envisioned a phenomenon like Facebook, he nevertheless was soon to become acquainted with the idea of a post going viral. Thanks to the technology of the printing press, his post of October 31, 1517, on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, circulated throughout all Germany within two weeks. Within two months, the entire European continent (those who could read, at least) were acquainted with his inflammatory list of grievances (the “95 Theses”) against the corrupt Catholic church of his day. As it turned out, his grievances would resonate with millions.

The two core ideas contained in his post (that the Bible should be the central authority in matters of faith, and that salvation comes only by faith and not by good works) would blossom into full maturity as Luther and his fellow reformers returned the Bible to its rightful place in church life. Their battles with the pope and his willing accomplices in the propagation of a false gospel are legendary. As evangelicals, it is fitting that we should celebrate the 500th anniversary of their courageous sacrifices. The ground they gained, at dear cost, is the very ground on which our faith stands today!

Opponents of the true gospel (salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, on the authority of the scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone) arise in every generation. We must always be on our guard against false gospels – some arising from without the church, most from within. But Luther was aware of yet another threat to the gospel, one infinitely more subtle, yet just as sinister: his own heart.

“I am more afraid of my own heart than the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great Pope, Self.” Luther here expresses a reality which we must never underestimate – the power of our fallen hearts to lure us away from simple confidence in the Savior God has provided to adore saviors of our own making. Though they may go by a thousand different names, these idolatrous saviors are all versions of the same tyrant, Pope Self.

On this special day of remembering the accomplishments of the Reformers – let’s once again bow our knee to the Lord in humble recognition of our daily need for His grace through Christ. Lord – may Your gospel of grace continue to reform . . . ME!

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