Nailing Our Theses

What does this week mean to a Christian? If we know our history, we have hope in Christ that was hidden until the 1500s. This post is not to educate Christians about the period of Reformation, just to relate the events to our individual lives.

We have Bibles available that others did not have before the Reformation. The Word of God, proclaimed to all men, was held in trust by only a few of the church. That was changed when the heart and life of a young monk named Martin Luther was changed. He saw the only hope of salvation apart from works as he searched the Scriptures for himself. His study of Paul’s letter to the Romans brought him to see and know Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. To make known his thoughts on the corruption of the church, he arranged his 95 theses and nailed them to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, thinking to arrange discussions or debate.

“But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Saints’ Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light?” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.” What is Reformation Day?

“Martin Luther claimed that what distinguished him from previous reformers was that while they attacked corruption in the life of the church, he went to the theological root of the problem—the perversion of the church’s doctrine of redemption and grace. Luther, a pastor and professor at the University of Wittenberg, deplored the entanglement of God’s free gift of grace in a complex system of indulgences and good works. In his Ninety-five Theses, he attacked the indulgence system,” Reformation, Encyclopedia Brittanica

We might ask, “Are there false teachings in the church today?” How far have we come even in this century, from the simplicity that is in Christ, having added our own traditions, programs, etc.?

Two main questions we are led to ask at this point in the life of the church are really personal. The church will not stand in final judgment with us. We will stand alone, either in Christ through the salvation offered to us through Him, or outside of the gospel, alone and without hope for eternity.

  1. What is our personal thesis or theses? What do we believe of Christ as revealed in God’s Word? Have we discovered the truths about our own salvation as Martin Luther did?
  2. Where have we nailed our theses? On what doors of our lives have we proclaimed Christ as our Lord and Savior?

We have the Bible. We hold the truth in our own hands. We claim the gospel alone as our attack against false teachings and against Satan’s power in the church and in our own lives.

We nail our beliefs to the door of our heart. We proclaim the truths of God’s grace in Christ alone, nailing these to the door of our homes, the door of our car, the door of our workplace, the door of our schools.

Wherever we are as faithful followers of Christ, we wear our theses as our armor of faith, we take them wherever we go; we testify of them without fear, and die with them if need be.

Are there enough of us as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to challenge our churches today?

Have you taken the time to establish the truths of God’s Word for yourself, and to stand firm on His Word no matter the cost?

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for leading the Reformers to know your Word and to stand firm. Thank you for those who died that we might have your Word in this generation. Guide your people to take a stand for the truth of the gospel in our churches and before the world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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How Could They? (An Ode to the Reformation)

How could they give all?
How could they lay it down?
Was it for crimes that they had done
~~~ or was it for a crown?

How could they die, so firm and sure
~~~ without a shade of doubt?
Was it for show or spectacle?
Was their faith that stout?

How could they stand ~~~ enduring flame?
How could they face the sword?
Were they unfeeling, so reserved?
Were they of another world?

If we but seek to truly know,
If, as they, we see and hear
The Savior, as He died for us ~~~
Is there anything we cannot bear?
Fran ~ 2010

(In praise to God, our Father; and in memory of those who died that we might have the Word of God, His truth, and the great salvation given through Jesus Christ, our Lord.)
The following is an audio sermon on 2 Thessalonians from a church in Northern Ireland about how the Word of God was the most important part in the Reformation.


Be Thou My Vision Ancient Irish poem,  8th Cen. David Evans 1927

The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul (Video Series)

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In 1986 this video series was filmed by a younger Sproul.  It is a classic in any Christian’s study of the character of God.  Whatever church you belong to you will be blessed to view these 30 minutes lectures. Go here to view all six.

Below is 5 minute clip from the first lecture, Holy, Holy, Holy.

The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans

From beginning to the end Paul specifies his
purpose in writing to those who were “called imagesto be saints”  ~  “called of Jesus Christ.”  Only those would read the letter would know his purpose.  Only those who were “loved of God” would understand his words.

In the first chapter: Paul, from God’s work in him, has received “grace and apostleship for obedience of faith.”

In the last chapter: “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,… according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen  (Romans 16:25-27)

Without anything else these two quotes are a front and back cover, encasing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ~ its purpose; its work; its glory to God alone.

Martin Luther, a forerunner of the Reformation and a discoverer of the hidden truth of a relationship with God being in “righteousness by faith alone” did not come to his understanding on his own volition, but as Paul, by the “effectual working of His power.”

What does righteousness have to do with faith?  Righteousness, a word ending with the suffix “ness” indicates a condition, or state of being.  No man, since Adam, exists in this state, but, in God’s sight, all exist in a state of “sin and death” ~  “there is none righteous.”  Existing is not the same as living.  All men are  “dead in sin and trespasses” before God, except for the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

This state of righteousness is a condition based on God’s own righteousness as revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ.  We fell from this state, with Adam; but are restored to this state in Jesus Christ.  This new condition that we share with Him is a state of being “righteous.”  And if we share this state with Him we are “right” before God and will do what is “right.” (Hebrews 13:21)  When Jesus said that we must first “seek His kingdom and His righteousness” He did not mean that this would be a natural seeking on our part, but the result of His working in our hearts and lives.

Psalm 1 is as clear as Paul’s writing.  Those who are “blessed” to be called by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, will experience the love of God’s law and meditate on it day and night; bearing fruit in its season, and prospering in Him.

imagesObedience of faith is the response and outworking of His own power in the heart and life of the believer. By His own grace He brings us to faith.  It is not a cheap grace, nor a cheap faith ~ one that we conjure up on our own.  It is a powerful faith that draws us to Christ (John 6:44-45) and keeps us always seeking Him.  Faith is the root of the seed of God’s word; obedience is the fruit.

Read Paul’s letter to the Romans with this understanding, and the desire for such a faith that works obedience to the heavenly Father that created us and redeemed us.  And as Paul “beseeches” the believers in Rome ~ by the same “mercies of God” that has saved us ~ we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God  ~  the only reasonable response.  This holy desire for Him to work all that He desires in us is the nature of righteousness and obedience.

Not being “conformed to this world,” but being “transformed by the renewing of our minds” is the desire of all who have found their righteousness in Christ alone, and will prove in us what is the will of God in all that is “good, acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:1-2)

In the middle of Paul’s letter we see the overall purpose of God for us, as believers ~
to be conformed to the image of His Son.  (Romans 8:29) Only He can create; only He can transform what He has created, and make us what He wants us to be.  Let us, with a voracious desire, seek to be all that He has redeemed us to be.  He will by the authority of His Word, and the power of His Spirit make us all that He wants us to be ~ obedient children of faith.

Dear heavenly Father,  attend to the hearts of your children today.  Bring us on your wings of love close to you. Nestle our hearts unto your precious word, that they never be separated from one another.  Show us your ways, teach us your paths, lead us in your truth and teach us; for Thou art the God of our salvation.  On Thee do we wait all the day.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen