Almost five hundred years ago, Martin Luther (a priest in the Catholic church at the time) was reading the Word of God and began to understand for the first time (by God's revelation) that we are "saved by faith" through God's grace as a "gift of God, not by works, lest any one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
As Luther began to understand, he realized that the legalistic requirements to get to God did not line up with the Scripture. Eventually he felt so convicted about those stark differences that he challenged people and the church to follow the teaching within God's Word. On October 31st, Luther posted his 95 thesis statements about those differences on the door of the church and thus started the Protestant Reformation.
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve (when they chose to trust in themselves and others, not God), humankind’s relationship with God has been strained, if not broken. Now, we all have a tendency to believe we can be good enough or do enough of the right things to get back in God’s good graces, but until then, we stand aloof, unsure of where we stand with God. Within that belief system, church attendance, Bible reading, prayer, and giving becomes little more than a checklist, and when all of the boxes are filled, we are then able to approach God and have fellowship again.
Yet, the precepts of God’s Word don’t teach that. In Romans 5:8, it states that “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The gift Martin Luther discovered is that although the sin of Adam separated us from God, Christ’s death on the cross reversed the penalty: “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But ever greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).
Today, we have the opportunity to walk in that gift of God and from God. I praise our Heavenly Father that Martin Luther, one of his children, read and studied God's Holy Word and then was courageous enough to share what he learned with others.
As believers in Christ, may we do also.
- by Cindy Carter, NCF member and guest contributor