Always Reforming

October 31, 2017 - 2 minute read


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Five hundred years ago, an Augustinian monk, reading Scripture, rediscovered Christianity’s central teaching. Salvation does not come from human works or efforts but is a free gift of God’s grace alone, received by faith alone, in Christ alone. Martin Luther was troubled by practices and teachings in his church that obscured this truth. So he tried to open a dialog about these issues, posting theses for discussion and debate. Those theses lit a fire that still burns. The core of the Reformation was simply the proclamation of the Gospel for all.

Sinful human nature always tries to supplant the Gospel with our own action. This was the case in the Medieval Church. But the problem did not stop there. Every generation sees similar challenges. Every church faces this temptation. Each Christian is tempted to focus on his or her efforts instead of Christ.

What theses would be posted on the church’s website today? What teachings and practices threated to obscure the Gospel? What points us away from Jesus?

What theses should be posted in our communities? On your Facebook page? Or on your heart?

Wherever there are sinners, there is always the temptation to obscure the Gospel. And the church is made up of sinners.

God has a remedy. As Luther stated in his first thesis: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

Repent! Turn from this sin and to Christ and His word. In faithful humility, we confess our failures, our self-centeredness, and our pride. We confess our neglect of God’s word and our lack of love.

And, like all who come in humble faith, we find that ever-faithful grace and love of God. The church survives its reformations because Christ is the Lord of the Church. He calls his Church—and each of his children—to renewal. Restoration. Reformation.

And, like all who come in humble faith, we find that ever-faithful grace and love of God. The church survives its reformations because Christ is the Lord of the Church. He calls his Church—and each of his children—to renewal. Restoration. Reformation.

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b–32

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8–10

Almighty God our heavenly Father, you recall your Church to you and rejoice when sinners repent, grant to your people a steadfast and joyful faith, a confidence in your Gospel, and a zeal for witness and service. Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

-SM

Always Reforming

Reflections on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

by Steven P. Mueller

The brief essays in this volume explore various aspects of Reformation theology and its implications. They were written by faculty of Concordia University Irvine in commemoration of the Reformation's 500th anniversary.

Available on Amazon
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