“Thoughts on the Reformation”
“God’s love is not wearied by our sins and is relentless in its determination that we be cured at whatever the cost to Him” – C.S. Lewis
The nature of the reformed heart has a greater understanding of the role we play in our eternal destiny. We fend off the tendency to believe that we can somehow work or pray harder and serve more in order to placate and angry God. Our nature is to believe otherwise. Somehow, some way we have to be more of a “I a miserable sinner …” to receive God’s grace. The reformed, transformed heart in Christ knows better.
Reformation has lost its luster in the majority of our brand of churches. We read and proclaim what others have said about doctrine and theology and confessional opinion, yet fail to wrestle with the very Word of God we are commanded to proclaim and was at the very heart of reformation origins. We fear other Christians because the basis of our faith is not owned by us. It is something that was spoon fed to us long ago. We believe … just because. We shy away from discussions with other religions because we do not know why we believe on the basis of God’s Holy Word. Our spiritual training ends with a catechetical study during a time when we could care less about the six chief parts of Christian faith. The Church seeks uniformity in worship, practice, administration, and teaching materials, yet falls short in preparing anyone to live and serve as followers of Jesus connected to his love in a world that needs to hear. In our brand of churches, we have become critical and judgmental of those not like us. We are certainly good at that activity. The rebellion to that kind of preparation and attitude has left churches with fewer and fewer people.
The Reformers were changed and convinced about the Lord and His Word from the inside out. Their hearts were convicted by the very Word of Life – Jesus. Their journey took them into the depths of that Word and would move and empower them to share the results. They all risked their lives on the journey they took. Luther’s reformation began in his heart. Their eternal destiny solely relied upon the Savior and His merits on the cross and resurrection. God’s relentless love is the cure for sinful souls at the cost of His Son. They stood powerless to do anything to cure sin and sin’s consequences. That realization through God’s Word changed their lives and the world.
… and the same is true for us.
The reformation opened the doors of God’s Word to grace, faith, and trust in His Word and these gave way to reformed, transformed hearts having a better understanding of the forgiveness of sins that grant us eternal life given to us through our Lord. No guesswork. No fear. No doubt.
The result of God’s Word is faith. The empowering force of that faith is the Holy Spirit.
The deeper one gets into that living, empowering Word through the Lord’s grace and faith, the more confident we are in our witness and service. We become more apt to engage an opposing spiritual world and tactful in our attempts to avoid the devil’s snare to doubt the living, victorious Lord.
James 1:22 would say – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” The Reformation calls us to get into the Word first. To believe and trust that it is by grace we have been saved through faith…all in Jesus our Lord. The “doing” comes from the Spirit’s work in us as the merits of our Lord sink in to our souls. That comes from a deep connection to the Lord’s Words.
Doing first …… promotes legalism.
Martin Luther would never have been able to boldly say here I stand without the firm conviction of faith in the Lord Jesus and the grace and forgiveness shown to all in His Word.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith”. Romans 1:16-17
Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest what the Lord has given to us in His Word and re-established through the Reformers throughout history.
The Lord bless and have mercy upon us all!
P.S. Parting thoughts on the reforming, transforming challenges Calvary faces.
> Calvary must capitalize on this time to better our internet presentation. People are watching us and exploring what Calvary is all about using online services.
> We all must find ways to connect or reconnect ourselves to other Calvary members and friends. The Church is based upon relationships beginning with Jesus.
> Prayers for our leaders and volunteers are vital during this time.
> Fear must be conquered. Risks must be taken. Priorities must be rediscovered and maintained.
> Connecting people to the Love of Jesus IS our mission.