This Wednesday marks 501 years since the beginning of what we know as the Protestant Reformation… A German Monk named Martin Luther, at the age of 34, nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg… The Catholic Church at the time had lost sight of the gospel, they were teaching false doctrine, and they had begun indulging in many ungodly activities… Luther’s goal in nailing his 95 Thesis to the door was to reform the Church, not to separate from it; but, the Catholic Church had other plans, and thus the Protestant Reformation was born.

After everything was said and done, what ended up being the core issue in the Reformation was justification by faith. The Catholic Church had an understanding of justification and righteousness where basically the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus doesn’t justify us in the eyes of God, but essentially cleans our slate. So, your past sins are forgiven, but from then on out you are on your own; and depending on where you were at in the process when you died would determine what would happen next… So no one ever had any real assurance, and basically no one ever expected to go to heaven—at least not right away…

In contrast to the Catholic Church Luther taught what he found in God’s Word, that, “For our sake [God] made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). That we don’t have a righteousness of our own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Philippians 3:9)… And how wonderfully freeing this is… We can have assurance because our forgiveness, our justification, our righteousness is all in Christ, not in us…

Jesus does not simply wipe our slate clean, but He gives us His slate… Praise God for the Reformation, praise God for His mercy and grace!

I am nothing; Christ is all!

Pastor Nick