Why Remember The Reformation? (Part 2 of 2)
In other words, the church had it all wrong. Church leaders were teaching that hard work and diligence to church polity can makes us righteous when Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teaches that we are saved by grace, NOT BY WORKS. Luther suddenly realized that we can never make ourselves righteous, nor can any act of the church. It is not something we do, nor is it something that we can have done to us. Righteousness only comes when God, as an act of grace, DECLARES us to be righteous. He does that by putting Christ’s righteousness in us. That’s what these verses mean:
“…those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
When Luther realized that he could actually be declared righteous in the eyes of God, in spite of his own struggle with sin and his own personal shortcomings in his pursuit of holiness, he wrote these words:
"At last, meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open."
So, back to the original question: Why is the Reformation so important? Because by it, we were freed from our bondage to works and the law. Rituals, rites, laws, works and sacraments have no ability to save us. Only God can do that by His gift of grace.
Our freedom to experience the love of God, His grace and mercy, is only possible for you and me because the reformers stood up to the swords and chains that tried to defeat them. They brought reform, kicking and screaming, back into the church, flinging open the gates to paradise.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”