In the majority of the homes in America, there are Halloween decorations up and costumes galore. Pumpkins have been carved and Amazon has made their seasonal deliveries. However, a small population is celebrating the most important date since New Testament times. For on this day, 500 years ago, Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation. We think all the time about all of the fun Trick-or-treating brings, the hilarity that ensues when we see the thousands of Donald Trump clones, and the wonderful bliss of a white chocolate Reese’s Cup, but what about that event 500 years ago?
Have you ever read the Bible? Congratulations! You have experienced the fruits of the Reformation. It’s supremely fun to dress up as our favorite serial killers and terrorize our neighbors, but let’s consider the importance of this “Reformation Day.”
For those that don’t know, Martin Luther was a young, Augustinian monk in the early 16th Century. He spent all of his time as a monk trying to earn salvation from the wrath and fury of God. He would spend hours every day confessing his sins to the priest and would practice flagellation in trying to be “sorry” enough for God. Indeed, so great was his struggle that he, when asked if he loved God, replied, “Love God? Sometimes I hate Him!”
It was a dark time.
Post tenebras lux.
This Latin phrase means “After darkness, light.” During this dark time in Luther’s life, he stumbled upon one of the most glorious sentences ever penned, Romans 1:17.
Romans 1:17 (ESV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Luther had finally realized that the Catholic Church had been feeding him a lie that he had no way of refuting until now. That lie was that we can work our way to God. Luther tried that. With a fervor unseen since the Apostle Paul, Luther tried that. He wasn’t successful. He tried it again. Same result.
It was only upon reading the Word of God that he was able to refute Rome’s lies and gluttonies. From here, Luther came to a realization. He said that the common people had a right and an interest in reading the very words that God had spoken in their own language. This, coupled with the invention of the printing press, caused the Bible to be printed in German for the first time. Luther translated, and then disseminated the Scriptures in such a way that the common man could receive the gift of faith from God without the Catholic Church’s interference.
We could continue to discuss how the Bible came to be translated into English, how the Romish Church was rebelled against in England, and how America came to be, but today is the day that we celebrate the official’s gunshot to begin the race. Let’s celebrate the echoing blast of Martin Luther’s mallet by reading our very own Bibles.
Soli Deo Gloria.