October 31 is when we celebrate Halloween. But did you know that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent a letter to his bishop which contained his Ninety-Five Theses?
October 31, 1517 was the day The Reformation began.
Luther wasn’t necessarily trying to initiate reformation. There wasn’t even context for a reformation. What after all is reformation?
But Luther’s words had an effect we still feel today. Luther said, “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept…the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”
Luther may as well have just said, “Jesus did it all.” —Jesus is the Word!
The Reformation liberated multiplied millions from a false reverence for human authority and it liberated them from a life of trying to earn salvation and the favor of the Church.
Luther kept preaching salvation through faith in Jesus, freedom through faith in Jesus, and that Jesus is the only One who is central in the Church–never man. Luther had watched as man put himself front and center, over and over, and above Jesus, and so Luther proclaimed, “He [Jesus] died for me. He made His righteousness mine and made my sin His own; and if He made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.” And therefore, “Jesus is the only One to be lifted up!”
The Church had been teaching money can earn salvation and special places of honor, favor, etc. Luther, in stark opposition, brought to light the great truth that we cannot pay our way to salvation, “Is it not wonderful news… salvation lies outside ourselves?” Outside of what our money or position or titles can buy, outside of what man can or cannot do…
Salvation lies in the Person of Jesus. And the only thing we can do is place ourselves in the position of receiving what Jesus has done for us by believing in His Name.
God today still wants to reform our hearts and break us out of wrong thinking that can so easily creep in about salvation, freedom, earning favor, or false reverence, and idolizing human authority.
It is Jesus. Only Jesus. It always has been Jesus, and always will be Jesus. When our hearts are firmly fixed on knowing Him, daily growing into deeper intimacy and revelation of Him, we will clearly see when counterfeits turns up.
Jesus said, If you hold to My teachings, you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free, John 8:31a, 32.