It doesn’t matter what “brand” of Christian you are—October 31st is the 500th anniversary of an event that impacts your church’s theology and background. And it’s impacted you.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, in an act of frustration over the way the Roman Catholic Church had veered off course, nailed a document—95 Theses, to be exact—to the front door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
With a hammer and nail, Luther struck the first blow that would grow into the Protestant Reformation. Luther (and those who joined him) did not initially set out to be the 16th-century version of the church hopper. He set out to reform the church (hence, the term “reformation”) and bring it back to the foundation of God’s Word.
Martin Luther was a Catholic monk who saw the Bible for what it is: the Word of God and, therefore, our ultimate authority. He also saw in this ultimate authority the clear teaching that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. Over the centuries, the church veered from these two central truths, placing more faith and authority in the institution of the church. So Luther called the church back to its roots: the centrality of Christ and the authority of His Word.
But to do that, Luther had to “call the church on the carpet” for its errors—and that did not set well with the church leaders. So four years later, Luther was called before the Diet of Worms. (To be clear, this is not one of those sketchy weight-loss programs involving tapeworms. A “diet” was a formal hearing, and it was held in the city of Worms.) The purpose of this hearing was to get Luther to recant, but he was fully committed to obedience to the Word of God. He said:
“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.”
What are you fully committed to? What calls you to say, “Here I stand, I can do no other?” Would you nail that commitment to the door?
Conviction and commitment should be second nature for the follower of Christ. Commitment to Christ should be so ingrained in us that we don’t think twice about whether we will be obedient to Him. We don’t have to think twice about whether or not we will compromise our convictions—or look the other way “just this one time.”
- God’s Word does not change—and neither should our conviction to follow it.
- God’s Holy Spirit does not abandon us—and neither should we abandon our dependence upon Him.
- God’s love and grace does not fluctuate—and neither should our display of His love and grace to others.
Is your commitment to Christ nailed down? And is it on display for others to see?
This post was re-purposed with permission from lynnhpryor.com. Lynn Pryor is a team leader for adult resources at Lifeway. He and his wife, Mary, lead a Bible study group for young adults and have survived raising two sons to adulthood. A graduate of Southwestern Seminary, Lynn has previously pastored and served churches in Texas. Read more from his blog at lynnhpryor.com.
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