“The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17)
How is a man justified before God? A right biblical understanding of this critical doctrine is essential to the church of Jesus Christ. Is a man or woman justified before God by works, or by “faith” alone? Can a person do works that can make him or her right before a holy God? What do the Scriptures actually teach?
In the 1500’s Roman Catholicism’s dogmatic teaching of works and faith permeated the world and was continuing to hide the truth of Scripture regarding how a person is justified before God. The Pope and Rome defined how a person was justified and they did so with a mighty iron hand! Their creeds and edicts went out with papal authority, creating a belief system that Rome said must be adhered to, if a person was to ever gain acceptance from God. You had to be of the Roman church, you had to abide in their teaching, and you had to accept it as the final authority on matters regarding salvation. If you failed to do this, you were labeled a heretic and had the chance of actually losing your life.
On October 31st, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther, a professor of biblical studies, who had struggled greatly with doing the works that would justify him before God, nailed to the door of the church castle in Wittenberg, Germany a list of 95 arguments challenging church dogma. And it began The Great Reformation! God entered into world history, using this Catholic monk, to His truths:
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
This is the truth, brought to bear on false church dogma! The reformers’ battle cry brought out essential truth, the great reformers such as Wycliff, Hus, Tyndale, Calvin, etc. Man was now being given the true doctrine of salvation, of how a person was justified before God, and it was a dramatic difference from what was being propagated by Rome.
The protesters were now the “Protestants.” The church of Rome fought them tooth and nail. Luther was excommunicated, so was Wycliff. Hus and Tyndale. They were also hunted down and put to death. But Rome could not thwart the work of God through these men. Others bore their torch and God moved in a mighty way to bring the truth of the doctrine of justification back to mankind.
Satan has done a good job of obscuring this great movement of God from the church today. It was years before I found out about the Protestant Reformation. How could we, the church, we who owe such a great debt to those of the Reformation, not know what they did, or not make known what was done,
- “The just shall live by faith”
Halloween and all its hub-bub obscures the remembrance of the mighty moving by God to rescue men from a damning heresy! Sadly, Halloween often blinds the eyes of those in the church to what should be the true reason we observe and make note of October 31st.
Remember Reformation Day. Embrace the work of God over the things of this world and do it to His glory, to the furtherance of His truth (Ephesians 5:8-13).
The Great Reformation
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- What are the Three Reformation Hymns by Martin Luther?
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