NOTE: While Pastor Charlie is on a trip out of the country through June 5, he has chosen some of his favorite blog posts from his weblog from 2020 to 2021 to share.
WHILE YOU READ THIS TODAY, I will be worshipping in Wittenberg, Germany. So I thought it appropriate to share a REFORMATION devotion memory today. PCW
From: October 31, 2020
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
Today is not only Halloween, it also the OFFICIAL reformation day, when Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Church in Wittenberg in 1517.
Some history and some quotes for today’s devotion.
During his early years, whenever Luther read what would become the famous "Reformation text"—Romans 1:17 “the one who is righteous shall live by faith”—his eyes were drawn not to the word faith, but to the word righteous. Who, after all, could "live by faith" but those who were already righteous? The text was clear on the matter: "the righteous shall live by faith."
Luther remarked, "I hated that word, 'the righteousness of God,' by which I had been taught according to the custom and use of all teachers ... [that] God is righteous and punishes the unrighteous sinner." The young Luther could not live by faith because he was not righteous—and he knew it.
Meanwhile, he was ordered to take his doctorate in the Bible and become a professor at Wittenberg University. During lectures on the Psalms (in 1513 and 1514) and a study of the Book of Romans, he began to see a way through his dilemma. "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."
On the heels of this new understanding came others. To Luther the church was no longer the institution defined by apostolic succession; instead it was the community of those who had been given faith. Salvation came not by the sacraments as such but by faith. The idea that human beings had a spark of goodness (enough to seek out God) was not a foundation of theology but was taught only by "fools." Humility was no longer a virtue that earned grace but a necessary response to the gift of grace. Faith no longer consisted of assenting to the church's teachings but of trusting the promises of God and the merits of Christ. (Christian Century)
While we call ourselves Lutherans, we do not worship Martin Luther. Instead, we give thanks to God FOR Martin Luther, who pointed to God and God’s Word to set us free.
Some of my favorite quotes of Martin Luther:
The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone...How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?
God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.
Pray, and let God worry.
As long as we live there is never enough singing.
Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.
I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.
Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!
God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does.
God's Word forever shall abide,
no thanks to foes, who fear it;
for God himself fights by our side
with weapons of the Spirit.
Were they to take our house,
goods, honor, child, or spouse,
though life be wrenched away,
they cannot win the day.
The kingdom's ours forever! (verse 4 – A Mighty Fortress)
Let us pray: I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.” (Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer)