I love the fall. The crisp air, pulling out my favorite sweaters and the change of the bright, golden leaves lining the road on the drive from Payson to Pine. Of course the holidays are an added plus to this time of the year. October 31 kicks off the fall and winter holidays.
Reformation Day is the best way to start this holiday lineup honoring this wonderful great historical mark in time that will last for eternity.
Yes, there really is such a day marked in history and actually celebrated in the daily lives of Christians the spiritual freedom that this Reformation Day has brought.
Earthly Reformation vs. Heavenly Reformation
As of late, many of us may relate to the word “reform” as a political word that deals with the many types of reformation in our nation and government in various areas and ways. When you research the word reform, one would find different, but valid descriptions. Several dictionaries include the significant definition, “change and improvement from an existing position to a better one.”
The spiritual definition, which might require more digging for deeper understanding, includes the New Testament book of Hebrews. In chapter 9, the author clearly explains the difference between the Old Covenant of the Jewish culture and the New Covenant found in Christ and opens this opportunity to all cultures by faith alone.
This spiritual reformation 2000 years ago indeed improved — from an existing position that included ceremonial ordinances; exterior deeds only; hypocrisy; pride; working our way to get favor from God; etc., to the better, the best, Reformer ever, Christ, who changed religion from these exterior acts to believing faith, acceptance of His grace and love. He offered eternal salvation to all who believe in Him, not only to the Jews but to all Gentiles.
Actually Christ was turning around what was the true definition of God’s heart from the beginning of time. A heart relationship with God and His creation — us. Which by the way, us humans always seem to mess up. But thanks be to God!
History of Reformation Day
Martin Luther actually followed in Christ’s footsteps. Turning around misguided understanding of God’s word in order to bring truth and correction, changing and improving a false position to a better one a higher one a holy one. He lived in the 1400s and 1500s and was powerful and instrumental in bringing reformation to the church and to Christians. There was so much misguided understanding of the heart of God and His scriptures. Luther was faithful to His Lord in this call and task of bringing Reformation. It was such an enormously divine position ordained by God, that it not only changed the church and history forever, but it also changed many, many hearts to a clearer understanding and belief in God. Luther, a monk, theologian and professor, was focused on these specific goals.
Luther taught that:
1) Salvation by God is not earned by good deeds
a. (just believe and receive faith in God).
2) Salvation by God is received only as a free gift of God’s grace
a. (does not have to be earned).
3) Salvation by God is received through faith in Jesus as redeemer from our sin.
4) The Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge.
5) The doctrine of justification — God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous.
Luther fought against external ordinances and good deeds as a way to earn salvation and instead reiterated the importance of salvation being a gift from God. It is nothing we can earn or pay God for, but it is a gift given to all that believe.
One of Luther’s theme scriptures supporting this reformation was Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentiles.
“For in it, the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just will live by faith.”
As the modern day prophet of the 1400s and 1500s, Luther echoed the same exact message as many in the Old Testament. Habakkuk the prophet in 600 BC called for reformation in the nation Judah. Turning to God and relying on faith of Him alone for salvation, mentioning salvation three times in his book as well as the phrase, “the just will live by faith.”
In addition, Jeremiah parallels these same passages, as he calls for reform in late 500s to 600s BC., calling God’s people to reform their hearts to Him to the better, higher and holy way.
Reformation of the Heart
Today, for you in 2010, the question must be asked about your heart.
Will you reform your heart to Christ?
Will you pray to the great Reformer?
Will you honor this great holiday by learning more about it, then giving praise to God?
Scripture references: Hebrews, chapter 9; Matthew, chapter 23; Habakkuk, 2:4
About the author
Simone Lake is a pastor’s wife and full time minister. She serves in the areas of Bible teacher, speaker and author. She is also a chaplain, short term missionary, prayer leader, and mentor. She holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake. Read more about her speaking engagements, Bible studies and upcoming events at: www.simonelake.com or www.simonelake.blogspot .com or www.facebook.com/SimoneLake.
Tuesday’s Bible Study – now through November from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Church on Randall Place, Pine; Study: Biblical Prayers of the Saints. All are welcome; call (928) 595-0837 for more information.
Romania Short Term Missions – September-October; joining team to participate in Bible Institute; teaching Bible workshops.
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Firm Foundation: Rim Review, first Wednesday of the month.