Why Remember The Reformation? (Part 1 of 2)
I have never understood why so many Christians have such little knowledge - or interest - about the Reformation. So, let me take a minute or two to explain why it is so important.
First of all, we have to understand what salvation looked like when the Reformation began. Remember, the church was very powerful and wealthy. When those two things coexist, abuse and corruption are sure to follow. That’s exactly what happened. The reformers saw that the church was broken and it needed to be set back on course.
The greatest reform came in the way we would come to understand faith and salvation. It was a German Monk named Martin Luther who sat alone in his study preparing for a sermon on the book of Romans, when he came across this verse:
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous shall live by faith.’”
As Martin read this verse, which is a quote from Habakkuk repeated 3 times in the New Testament, he began to understand what was wrong with the church. The whole point of the church was to reconcile us to God. For that to happen, we have to be made righteous.
So, how do we do that? The Roman church saw righteousness as a product of the sacraments. They used a Latin Bible which implied that we are “made” righteous. The church, then, understood reconciliation as something that the church does for you. The rituals and rites of the church make you right with God.
The Bible, however, was not written in Latin. Paul wrote in Greek and the word that he used for righteousness meant something different. The Greek word “dikaiosune” doesn’t mean to MAKE righteous, it means to DECLARE righteous, or to REGARD as righteous.
Part 2 on Monday, then back to Matthew 24.