Happy Reformation Day!
Today, on October 31st, 1517 (491 years ago today), our brother Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg. This was not an uncommon thing; people did this all the time as a bulletin board or for academic debates. Dr. Luther had no idea what was about to happen.
The whole Western world would be changed.
The Pope commissioned John Tetzel to go around selling indulgences (which, although not as common, are still part of Roman Catholicism today). Indulgences were a way to pay to bring one's relative out of purgatory, or to buy time out of purgatory. It was said, "When money in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs."
The Pope needed the money to build St. Peter's Cathedral, so he made a special "plenary indulgence," one which said that one could completely skip purgatory and enter straight into heaven if they paid an indulgence.
Luther responded to this in his 95 Theses by saying, "If the Pope can empty purgatory, why wouldn't he just do it out of love, and not for money?".
Luther also stated in his 95 Theses, "the treasure of the church is not indulgences, but the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
I almost tear up as I type this. Praise God for such a brother as Martin Luther! Praise God that someone stood up against the tyrrany of the Roman Catholic Church, that apostate whore of Babylon.
God in His providence had also ordained that the printing press would have been invented; before he knew it, copies of his 95 Theses had been formulated and circulated all over Germany.
And this is not even half of the wonderful history. God used Luther to translate the Bible into German. Now people could read the Bible for themselves and see how off the mark Rome's interpretations are.
And most of all, Luther (and Calvin) read their Bibles and saw that the good news of the gospel is that God justifies the wicked!
Today, this Reformation Day, may God be pleased to cause us to meditate on the riches of Christ Jesus our Savior.
In Jesus' precious Name. Amen.