October 31. It isn’t just Halloween–a very odd candy holiday in which perfectly happy, normal people throw skeleton decorations in their front yards. I don’t mean to be the Halloween Scrooge, but Halloween gets on my nerves. I passed a house yesterday with three fake tomb stones in the front yard. On the stones, the family had written the names of their children (living children). Weird, ya’ll. I don’t care what holiday that is. It’s weird.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a day where my children eat too much sugar and ask me to spend a bunch of money on costumes. Then we attempt trick-or-treating, until some neighbor takes it all too seriously and comes running out with a hockey mask and a chain saw. One of my children always gets scared and wants to come home.
Or, the funny thing is, they are so excited to have six pieces of candy in their bag, they say, “Yes! Let’s go home and eat all this candy!!!”
I’m much more intrigued by a whole other event that took place on October 31, 1517. Yes, THAT Martin Luther: the one that started the whole Protestant Reformation. I mean, it had to be done. In those days, the Church was selling “forgiveness for sins” in exchange for money. What! Martin Luther was a highly dedicated Augustinian friar, with a doctorate in Bible, so he knew his Word backwards and forwards. He wrote down every single way in which the selling of indulgences was unBiblical and an exploitation of the poor. He sent this letter to his bishop. Some say he even nailed it to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.
Now you know I’m on board with someone who takes that kind of stand.
This is not to say anything against the Catholic Church nowadays, but in Martin Luther’s time, reform desperately needed to happen. As for the church now?
Psst….When it comes to Christianity, being a follower of Christ does not depend on what denomination of church you go to. All churches consist of lost and saved people alike, I am convinced.
What matters is the heart. That’s what God looks at. Is your heart right with God? How does one even get “right with God”?
Well, the Bible says that we can’t really, on our own. None of us are righteous, no not one. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The Bible states that we are all in need of a Savior, and that savior is Jesus.
In 1517, the Church (not God’s Word), also taught that we needed a Savior, but not just that–we also needed enough good deeds, and we could just buy the good deed part by giving money to the church.
A clean heart cannot be bought.
I think John describes salvation best, in the verses that we always teach our children first:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
To be right with God, we need to come to a place where we see our sins for what they are–sins. We need to confess that, ask for forgiveness, believing that we can get that through Jesus. Why Jesus? Because he lived this life as a person, even though he is God, and he never sinned. However, he took OUR punishment for sin upon himself, simply because God loved us.
Jesus reconciled us to God.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 8-10
It’s a choice we all must make: to believe or not to believe, but if you choose not to believe, I hope you have well researched that decision. Life is so much better with Jesus in it.
Don’t you love a man who stands up for what he believes is right? Martin Luther didn’t turn his back on the church because of all the hypocrisy. Instead, he tried to change it. He educated, he persuaded, he was bold, and he was brave.
Eventually, change did happen, but at first all Martin Luther got for that was……excommunicated from the church. As it turns out, choosing to stand up for what’s right isn’t always popular.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
A few facts you may not know about Martin Luther
1. Martin Luther taught other reformers to not resort to violence in their quest for church reform since that is not Biblical. That reminds me of how Martin Luther King, Jr. also sought non-violent means to promote Civil Rights. There’s the connection.
2. Martin Luther wrote catechisms to teach the basics of Christianity to the people.
3. He also wrote a new Mass in German so that the common people could understand it, and he omitted everything that “smacks of sacrifice.” Luther preached that Mass was a gift, not a sacrifice.
4. Luther wrote gobs of hymns.
5. Luther translated the New Testament into German, but they say it was slanted towards his interpretations.
6. Luther always took the firm stance that communion was literal, not symbolic, as many reformers believed.
Happy Martin Luther Day! Have a great weekend.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13