Why I Remember the Reformation

Today, I’ve got a hymn stuck in my head. I can’t stop singing “A Mighty Fortress” probably because today is the 501st anniversary of the Reformation, and “A Mighty Fortress” is basically the anthem of that event. I’m wearing my reformation crew neck, with my Luther’s Seal necklace, and when someone wishes me a Happy Halloween, I respond with “Happy Reformation!”

Why am I still celebrating and remembering some event that happened 501 years ago?

Let me tell you.

This is going to be a very shortened history and recounting of the Reformation; people write entire textbooks on this, and I don’t have that kind of time today. I’ve got hymns to sing, after all.

Sola Gratia

Sola Fides

Sola Scriptura

Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone.

This is what the Reformation reminded the world of. The Gospel. It wasn’t about creating a new denomination or “fighting the Catholics.” It was about bringing the focus back on the Gospel. That’s the most important thing about the Reformation. Luther surely wasn’t aiming at creating an entire group of people that called themselves “Lutherans.” He just wanted people to know and have access to the Gospel.

Ephesians 2:8-9 is one place to see this in Scripture (it is, of course, in Scripture alone, God’s Word alone, that we have the foundation for our doctrine. Nowhere else can we or should we look for doctrine):

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.

Grace alone saves us. Not works and not by anything that we do or say. If salvation was up to us, every one of us would fail every time. Thankfully, God has given us this gift.

Grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone saves us. This faith is given to us by God; again, it is not something we say or do, but rather, a gift from God.

Why do I still care about the Reformation? Because I’ve been reminded of the Gospel. Grace alone through faith alone in Scripture alone saves me. Nothing I do, nothing I say, nothing I buy, nothing I don’t do will save me. Christ alone is my salvation.

Thank God.

The Word they still shall let remain

Nor any thanks have for it;

He’s by our side upon the plain

with His good gifts and Spirit.

And take they our life,

Goods, fame, child, and wife,

Though these all be gone,

Our victory has been won;

The Kingdom ours remaineth.


Image taken from Trinity Lutheran Church and School.


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