490 years ago, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg. If you're not Lutheran and no historian, you may know nothing about that, but you should! Luther was a monk who re-discovered and proclaimed the wonderful, life-giving truth that we can be saved not by penance, not by pilgrimages, not by the excess merits of the saints, not by papal dispensations, but by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ who died for sinners and who rose up again, the proof that he'd paid in full for the sins of his people.
A brilliant, perceptive young monk
Was in a perpetual funk
Because of his guilt and his sin.
It gnawed on his soul from within.
Then Romans, a letter from Paul,
Brought freedom from sin. He stood tall.
No longer by darkness enslaved,
By faith, now, this fine monk was saved.
No penance, no pilgrimage-place,
But pure, gift-of-God, simple grace
Through Jesus, whose blood washed away
Our sin and our guilt. Night to day!
...as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
--Romans 1:17, ESV
With thanks to Tim Challies for reminding us that it's Reformation Day, and that the reformation still matters.