Reformation Day, the 31st October, is when we celebrate the revelation of God to Martin Luther over five hundred years ago.
Luther was a devout, religious and well educated man, and he held an important role in the church and at the University in Wittenberg, Germany. However, he had struggled to find God for himself. He longed to be free from his sin and to be right with God.
His search for peace with God culminated in the realisation of the amazing truth of God’s word in Romans 1:17, ‘the just shall live by faith’ (see also Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38 and Habakkuk 2:4).
It was a life changing discovery for Luther to realise that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary was, and is, enough to save a truly penitent sinner. He paid it all and there is nothing anyone can contribute to His finished work. It is Jesus who takes us from fear to freedom. ‘For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…’ 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV). The timeless truth of the Gospel is undeniably the best news this world has ever received.
One man’s testimony of the power of Christ in his life changed the course of church history in his land, our land and across the world. While we remember Martin Luther with great thankfulness, tellingly, he would have us look to God and to the Bible as the inspiration and motivation for all that happened: “I did nothing: the Word of God did it all.”
Like Luther, believers today know the reality of being set free from the power of sin. We no longer focus on the power of the enemy. Reformation Day could well be called ‘Transformation Day’, while tomorrow, All Saints Day, is a day to remember that those who are in Christ are living saints! (Ephesians 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2)
‘In Christ Alone’, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, is one of the most popular worship songs composed in recent decades. The words, which are below, are rich and deep in theology and meaning, bringing the singer/listener on a journey through Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension, and expressing love and joy in the knowledge that He is all we need.
Its enduring popularity is evidence that many people have come to the same place as Luther, looking to Christ alone and finding all they need in Him. As the Great Reformer himself said, “when I look at myself, I don’t see how I can be saved, but when I look at Christ, I don’t see how I can be lost.”
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ, I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
And no pow'r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand