Using a gift is a fine way to express appreciation and gratitude.
The sixteenth century Lutheran Reformation was a great gift from God, for through it God restored to us His greatest gifts. Our full and free Salvation in and through Jesus Christ had been put on the shelf by the Roman Catholic Church, which then substituted works that man himself had to accomplish, and God’s undeserved Grace had been shelved in favor of the notion that God infuses grace into man, enabling people to do His will and thus supposedly merit eternal life.
Those precious gifts were all but lost because God’s Word had been put away on a shelf and all but forgotten, being replaced by the teachings of men.
God gave these gifts anew when He led Martin Luther to understand that we learn God’s will BY SCRIPTURE ALONE, not via the traditions of the church. In the Scriptures Luther rediscovered the truth that sinners are saved BY GRACE ALONE, which is God’s undeserved love that saves because He chose to punish His own Son in our place. God also restored the blessed truth that sinners receive His grace and salvation BY FAITH ALONE, not because of our good works or by our own choosing.
How will we treat these gifts from God? Will we celebrate the Reformation again this October with thanksgiving and praise, and then tuck its gifts back on the shelf for another year? God forbid! Let us continue to use the wonderful spiritual gifts of the Reformation day after day after day!
Using the Reformation means continuing to contend for the Word and ever striving to preserve it from error.
God’s Word is under attack today as much as ever. It is being attacked by atheists and evolutionists, who try to get us and our children to think that the account of creation in the Bible is foolishness. It is even being attacked by many “Christian”–and even some “Lutheran”—churches that are not willing to believe and accept everything the Bible teaches.
We use the Reformation correctly when we teach that every word of Holy Scripture is holy because it is God’s own divinely inspired and inerrant Word! In addition, we need to treasure that Word in our own hearts, delighting in it by daily letting God speak to us as He leads us and strengthens us through His Word. May we have a desire to dig into God’s Word and all the wonderful truths that God reveals to us there!
We preserve the Reformation by living in that grace daily, letting God’s holy law convict us of sin and then turning to God in humble contrition and repentance. The more we are aware of our sin and sinfulness, the more we will rejoice in God’s grace and forgiveness.
In other words, the Lutheran Reformation was and is not only about Christian churches and synods teaching the truth of God’s Word and the truth about our salvation, but it is also about each of us living in God’s grace, delighting in His Word, and continuing in the faith which the Holy Spirit has given us.
Let us treasure the spiritual gifts God has given us and use them every day!