Reformation Sunday
October 31, 2021

(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast."

It is easy for some Lutherans to take this Bible passage for granted. But not everyone believes the message found here, or has even heard of it. 

At the time of year when we celebrate the Reformation we especially remember Martin Luther. But we don’t put him on a pedestal like some have accused Lutherans of doing. He was a sinful human being. We thank God for Luther’s writings, and for pointing us back to the Holy Scriptures, “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15 (NIV)

In Luther we find a strong leader, one who stood up to popes and bishops and the power of the Roman Catholic Church. But we don’t praise the man Martin Luther. We praise God for what he accomplished through Doctor Martin Luther. 

And perhaps the very most important thing he did was open the Scriptures and help make them available for everyone. He translated the Bible into German, the language of the people, so they could read the Scriptures for themselves and not depend on someone else telling them what they think it says. 

We must remember what was restored: the Word of God in its truth and purity. Many, even many who bear the name “Lutheran” do not honor the entire Bible as what it is, God’s Word speaking the message of eternal salvation to mankind. It is the verbally inspired Word of God.

An anonymous hymn writer in 1527 wrote 
“O God, Our Lord, Thy holy Word Was long a hidden treasure
Till to its place It was by grace Restored in fullest measure. 
For this Today Our thanks we say And gladly glorify Thee
Thy mercy show And grace bestow On all who still deny Thee.”
(The Lutheran Hymnal 266)

It is easy to take anything for granted and assume we will always have it in abundance. But let us be careful with the Word of God which has been entrusted to us! Isn’t there an earthly aphorism which goes ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone’?

It was through much tribulation that the Gospel was restored to the Christian church in Europe starting on October 31, 1517. But it is by the grace of God that it was restored.

May we always appreciate God’s undeserved love and mercy, for that is what saved us – and saved all sinful mankind if only they believe it! Please God, continue to show thy mercy on us and use us to share that mercy! 

Prayer
O Lord God, heavenly Father, we beg of thee to pour out Thy Holy Spirit upon Thy faithful people, keep them steadfast in Thy grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all enemies of Thy Word, and bestow upon Christ’s Church Militant Thy saving peace, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord.
Amen
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