It was 500 years ago when a brave young monk, concerned about the practice of his church’s selling for cash the forgiveness of sins that Christ had freely given, posted 95 statements on the community bulletin board of the church doors in Wittenberg, Germany for the purpose of debating this practice and how it conflicted with Scripture.
It was simply designed to be a local university debate, but ended up being picked up and published on printing presses and carried throughout the nation of Germany and surrounding areas. This was the beginning of the Reformation.
Through all the debates, discussions, hearings, councils, and other meetings regarding conflicting beliefs within the church, God’s Word in the truth of the Gospel came shining through. As some tried to squelch it, the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ was once again being proclaimed to the people.
Through all the years since then, the battle has been ongoing to keep the truth of God’s Word as GOD’S Word – not man’s.
The battle, as we well know, goes on today. But we are reaping the harvest of the labors of men and women of God over the last 500 years as we come to celebrate God’s work through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Scripture verse from Romans 1:17, “The righteous shall live by faith,” (originally from Habakkuk 2:4) was a verse that started Martin Luther down the road of the Reformation. This was amazing in two ways:
- 1) ‘It is the first of more than 50 quotations from the Old Testament Paul uses in Romans. Such quotes . . . are Paul’s way of saying, “’I’m not making any of this up! It has been there all along. It is God’s idea.”’
- 2) Habakkuk’s original meaning in 2:4 could properly be translated, ‘“The just shall live by his faithfulness.” Not simply the faith of the just person is in view, but also the faithfulness of God! What distinguishes the righteous from the wicked, according to Habakkuk, is that the righteous cling to the faithfulness of God in fearful times.’
These are the times we live in. We live in fearful times. Now IS NOT the time to turn our backs on our God who has promised to be with us throughout all time. Now IS the time to “cling” to our God who has proven Himself faithful throughout the ages.
Join us for our special Reformation Weekend services here at Grace on Thursday, October 26th @ 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 29th @ 8:00 & 10:15 a.m.
Our three circuits in Sheboygan County will also be hosting their annual Reformation Day Celebration at the Stephanie H. Weill Center in downtown Sheboygan at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 29th. It will be a special service celebrating this the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses. Our guest preacher will be Rev. Dr. John Wille, the president of our South Wisconsin District. Please join us for all these worship opportunities, it will be well worth it. Praise God for His 500 years of continuing blessings.
Shalom in Jesus our Risen Messiah,
Pastor Peter M. Peitsch