Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and active.
On October 31, 1517, to protest the selling of worthless pieces of paper called indulgences which promised people release from their sins in purgatory for a payment of money, Martin Luther objected and wrote 95 statements in Latin which showed why the sales of these indulgences were wrong. He nailed them to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. This led to the Reformation which swept across the world changing it forever. Unfortunately, one can still buy indulgences from the roman catholic church. On the first Sunday of November, we will celebrate Reformation Sunday. Why? What is so important about the Reformation.
Can you imagine a church where the Bible was not read? Can you imagine a Dr. of Divinity (Andrew Carlstadt) receiving his degree and going about his church work for eight years without opening the Bible? What were they studying? What were they preaching and teaching about? And what good was that for anyone? Yet, that was the church in Luther's day, which was changed by the Reformation. Luther wrote his 95 thesis, or statements to challenge someone to debate him on the topic. But the statements were translated, printed and spread over Germany and all around much of Europe. The people were stirred by what they read. And the Reformation took off.
The main blessings of the Reformation to us are: 1) The Word of God being put into the hands of the people to read, meditate and to believe in their Savior Jesus Christ. This is why Luther began to translate the Bible into their language. 2) Then also, we benefit with the return of the Bible's Main Teaching of Salvation by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. 3) Other biblical doctrines and the Sacraments were given back to the people where they belonged, that they may grow in Grace and Faith.
Luther says in his Table Talks: “We ought not to criticize, explain, or judge the Scriptures by our mere reason, but diligently, with prayer, meditate thereon, and seek their meaning. The devil and temptations also afford us occasion to learn and understand Scriptures, by experience and practice. Without these we should never understand them, however diligently we read and listen to them. The Holy Ghost must here be our only master and tutor; and let youth have no shame to learn of that preceptor. When I find myself assailed by temptation, I forthwith lay hold of some text of the Bible, which Jesus extends to me; as this: that he died for me, whence I derive infinite comfort.”
“He who has made himself master of the principles and text of the word runs little risk of committing errors. A theologian should be thoroughly in possession of the basis and source of faith – that is to say, the Holy Scriptures. Armed with this knowledge it was that I confounded and silenced all my adversaries; for they seek not to fathom and understand the Scriptures; they run over them negligently and drowsily; they speak, they write, they teach, according to the suggestion of their heedless imaginations. My counsel is, that we draw water from the true source and fountain, that is we diligently search the Scriptures. He who wholly possesses the text of the Bible, is a consummate divine. One single verse, one sentence of the text, is of far more instruction that a whole host of... commentaries,... I prefer the text to them all, though , in popedom, the glosses were deemed of higher value then the bright and clear text.”
“Let us not lose the Bible, but with diligence, in fear and invocation of God, read and preach it... I would not give a straw for the rest.”
Would a person come every Sunday to hear me rattle on about what I think? I would hope not! What I think and my opinions don't really matter inside the church. God's Word is what it is all about. God's Word is our Delight, our Light in a dark world, our Spotlight on the true God, on His Son our Savior and on The Way, He has provided for us by faith through the Eternal Gates of Heaven. What a benefit for us from the Reformation!