So yesterday at my church (FPC Haines City) I greeted everyone with a “Happy Reformation Day!” To wit – few had a clue what I was talking about. Now, I wasn’t trying to be pretentious, or anti-Halloween… my son dressed up (as a lion), we carved a pumpkin, gave out candy and had a good time as a family – it’s just that sometimes in an effort to be ultra-relavant Christians and the Church can minimize the importance of our heritage. If you are Protestant, Reformation Day is a significant day in the life of the Church, because it is the day Martin Luther stood on the steps of Wittenburg Church and placed his 95 Theses: Or Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences there thus questioning the Scriptural validity of “indulgences” or the selling of forgiveness. In that one act – whether he knew it or was prepared for it – Luther defied the Catholic order and the papacy itself. A pretty big deal for 1517. This is typically seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, though it would years before any denomination would actually form.
Most of Luther’s 95 Theses are direct answers to things related to the buying and selling of indulgences specifically or the papacy and Catholic Church generally, but it’s the first of the 95 that I want to point out.
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
The attitude of a Christian should always be one of repentance or constantly turning away from that which is not God -also known as sin – to that which is God. Now, it’s not a matter of feeling guilty or worthless all the time. Quite the contrary, Christ died to set us free (Galatians 5:1ff), but he did so not to do whatever we want, but whatever he wants (Romans 6:1-2)… The great thing is that the more we live a life of repentance the more what God wants becomes what we want… and then the reformation can begin in us.