Last night we had our annual Reformation Service. Below is my meditation…
Imagine you were without God and without hope in this world. Imagine you were a sinner living your life as if there is no God but still had a conscience that convicted you of your sin.
Worse, imagine you were a religious person incredible faithful to your religious practices, believing that in those practices forgiveness for sin was found and that your conscience could be eased…but it never happened. You never felt loved, never felt at peace, never felt hope, never felt forgiven. Even as a religiously righteous person, your practices didn’t ease your guilt but only increased it.
The Reformation isn’t about the Roman Catholic Church, it’s not about a German monk, it’s not about Calvinism, and it’s not about throwing off the yoke of political tyranny. The Reformation at its heart is about the gospel.
The Reformation teaches us that Holy Scripture alone tells us the will of God for our lives and how we are to be saved, not the church or its traditions.
The Reformation teaches us that we are saved by grace alone and that works are the fruit of our salvation, not the root.
The Reformation teaches us that we are saved by faith alone as we look to the object of our faith, the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Reformation teaches us that our salvation is found in Christ alone for only the Son of God could save us from the wrath of God we fully deserved.
The Reformation teaches us that all these are for the glory of God alone for only He is worthy to be worshiped and praised. No church, no tradition, no man should ever be worshiped.
What does this mean for the sinner whose conscience still convicts him or the religious person who still feels guilt? The Reformation points us to the truth that Paul preached, that the entire Bible preaches…
1 Timothy 1:12-17 (HCSB) 12 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—13 one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst ⌊of them⌋, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
And so the Reformation teaches us what the Scriptures teach us: that Christ has lived a righteous so that we can have His righteousness, He has died satisfying the wrath of God in full so that we who are sinners would not have to, and He is risen from the dead as the first fruits of many brothers and sisters. And that if we will repent of our sins and trust in the finished work of Christ, we will be saved. And all this to the honor and glory of God.
The Reformation is about God, about sinners, about the gospel, and about hope. Which is why the Reformation is both important and not over. For we live in a city full of sinners who need the hope that can only come from turning from their sins and placing their faith in Jesus Christ alone. They need to hear the gospel.