October 31 is a special date that marks the beginning of Protestantism. No, not Halloween but the day one monk-professor protested the Church’s illegitimate rules and regulations. It was the beginning of the western church’s road to reform.
Martin Luther, a young Roman Catholic priest before he was kicked-out, had nailed the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church. This got him into big trouble–not for graffiti, but for his ideas. It was sort of a declaration that stated the truths he wished all Christians would understand, including the Pope and bishops of the Church to whom he had given some constructive, but unwelcomed critique. They were furious when they saw what he made public for all to read. They tried him, and finally, wanted to kill him when they realized he would never conform.
Why was Luther up-in-arms about the Church? Christians had been deceived into giving indulgences (or alms) to ensure the salvation of one’s loved ones. This was totally contrary to biblical teaching because scripture was clear that salvation was a free gift from God and cannot be bought. Finally, in 1517 A.D., a fed-up Martin Luther began to argue for freedom from such non-sensical rules that were conveniently concocted by the church in order to secretly fund the construction of a big church building in Rome (St. Peter’s Basilica). He argued that we are saved only by faith in believing that Jesus died for our sins, not by following the illegitimate laws of the Church. He believed this was the Christian’s religious freedom from having to trust in the dictates of the law for our righteousness.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We are the salt and light in a dark world. May the light of the gospel shine as others see our good works to the praise and glory of God the Father.