ONE HAMMER in the hand of an obscure Augustinian monk changed the world forever. Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany calling his fellow professors to examine issues of supreme theological importance. Thus began the Reformation through which the light of God’s Word was brought out of the darkness to shine with clarity once more.
One of the central cries of the Protestant Reformation was this: “The just shall live by faith.” Luther’s development of the doctrine of justification by faith alone recovered the gospel that had been hidden during the Middle Ages.
And at the center of that gospel is the affirmation that the righteousness by which we are declared just before a holy God is not our own. It’s a foreign righteousness, an alien righteousness, a righteousness that Luther said is extra nos—apart from us. Namely, it’s the righteousness of Jesus Christ—that righteousness that’s imputed or counted for all who put their trust in Him.
Because of that affirmation Luther was involved in serious controversies—controversies that culminated in his being brought to trial before the princes of the church and even before the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles the V. And there at the Diet of Worms, summoned in Germany, Luther was called upon to recant his views. He answered his interlocutors by saying, “Revoco? You want me to say revoco? That I recant? I will not recant unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture or by evident reason. I cannot recant for my conscience is held captive by the Word of God. And to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”
In every generation the gospel must be published anew with the same boldness, and the same clarity, and the same urgency that came forth in the 16th century Reformation. The church has always done this in both the spoken word and in song—producing hymns that tell us of the great salvation that has been wrought by God alone through Christ alone.” Dr. R. C. Sproul
Have a blessed Lord’s Day.
Soli deo Gloria!