Re­for­ma­tion Day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Religion - BY REV. KENT COMP­TON

“It was to show his right­eous­ness at the present time, so that he might be just and the jus­ti­fier of the one who has faith in Je­sus.” Rom 3:26

To­day marks a very spe­cial an­niver­sary. Re­for­ma­tion Day is a day of­ten eclipsed by Hal­loween since they both fall on the same day. It marks the day in 1517, when a 33-year-old Ger­man monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his now fa­mous ninety-five the­sis to the cas­tle door in Wit­ten­berg, Ger­many. It is a date pop­u­larly un­der­stood as the beginning of the Protes­tant Re­for­ma­tion.

The Re­for­ma­tion marked a re­dis­cov­ery of the im­por­tant bib­li­cal truths. The great­est of those, es­pe­cially in Luther’s life, was that a man is made right with God, not by what he does, but by what Je­sus alone did on his be­half. This amaz­ing verse cel­e­brates the wis­dom of God in mak­ing a way to save sin­ners like us, while at the same time be­ing true to his own char­ac­ter as a just God who sees that no sin goes un­pun­ished.

The Bi­ble is un­yield­ing in dis­play­ing the pas­sion God has for jus­tice and right­eous­ness. The Psalmist says, “ The scepter of your king­dom is a scepter of up­right­ness; you have loved right­eous­ness and hated wicked­ness.”

So how does God so zeal­ous for jus­tice al­low sin­ners to go free? It is cer­tainly not by sweep­ing sin ‘un­der the rug’. Nor is God sat­is­fied with a life well-lived. In­deed, the verses just be­fore this shows that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, justly de­serv­ing of God’s wrath. This is why Luther knew that no mat­ter how good he tried to be, he could never sat­isfy such a holy God by him­self. There had to be an­other way.

While study­ing Ro­mans Luther dis­cov­ered that God, out of his amaz­ing love and mercy, made Je­sus guilty for what sin­ners did. Paul says that be­liev­ers “. . . are jus­ti­fied by his grace as a gift, through the re­demp­tion that is in Christ Je­sus, whom God put for­ward as pro­pi­ti­a­tion by his blood, to be re­ceived by faith. (vss 24-25) That sim­ply means Je­sus’ death ful­filled the de­mands of jus­tice and re­moved God’s wrath against us. He says else­where that “Christ has re­deemed us from the curse of the law, be­ing made a curse for us...”. (Gal 3:13)

But lastly, no­tice the con­di­tion Paul high­lights. Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion (de­clared righ­teous by God) is given as a free and per­ma­nent gift to him “who has faith in Je­sus”. While it cost God ev­ery­thing in se­cur­ing this sal­va­tion, yet for us it is ab­so­lutely free! Faith alone is God’s con­di­tion for sal­va­tion. Could you ask for bet­ter terms?

Luther’s soul, tor­tured by the ne­ces­sity of try­ing to earn his sal­va­tion, was set free by the free grace of God given in Christ. For him it was the end of the mat­ter!

Friend, if you haven’t be­lieved in Christ in this way be­fore then Re­for­ma­tion Day is a good day to start.

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