On October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany, Martin Luther posted his thoughts about God and the Church. His teachings gained a firm hold with many. The result was the 150-year movement in Europe that became known as the Reformation and that continues to have an impact today.
Martin Luther was committed to being the best monk possible but he was still concerned for his eternal soul. He dedicated his life to serving God and the Church. Yet, he found that by his own hands, God was impossible to please and the Church of his day was far from perfect. Luther was not alone in his struggles and desires.
2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It reminds us that our fears and needs have not changed. With all our progress and knowledge, we are still concerned about questions of death and our place in the universe.
The answers Luther found in the Reformation address our concerns today. How does God feel about us? What do we do in the face of an overwhelming reality like death?
Luther’s approach to studying the Bible led to his realization that God has made Himself known to us as a God of love. Luther’s heart skipped for joy when he understood God’s character. God shows mercy to the guilty and love to the unlovable.
The Reformation is summed up in a brief statement by Luther: “I must listen to the Gospel. It tells me, not what I must do, but what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done for me”. Because of Jesus, God turns toward humanity in love. God forgives all those who have faith in Jesus. After His death on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death for all those who believe in Him.
In the Reformation, Luther taught that humans don’t earn God’s love by trying to please Him. God’s love is a free gift because of Jesus. This is the good news of the Gospel, Jesus reconciles you to God. Faith in Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior gives forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Five hundred years have passed since Luther began the Reformation. The truth is still the truth. Humanity’s situation hasn’t changed. Luther needed answers. He found them in God’s love. Luther taught everyone that God sent Jesus to forgive sins and to give eternal life.
Our world has turned to science and intellect for answers, but they have failed to save us. We have looked to human ingenuity and evolution to deliver us from death, yet death is still inevitable. Even many of the most learned among us are looking for answers outside of our world. Where are you looking for answers?
This is not an attempt to convince you with human reason or logic or a suggestion to reject all you know. It is an invitation to explore the Reformation. Read about Luther and his theology. You are invited to join us at Redeemer Lutheran - David City or Immanuel Lutheran – Rising City or find a local congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Join us for worship or Bible study and talk to the pastor. Find out about a God who truly loves you.