Pastor Paul Rieger
Focusing On Jesus Christ
Focusing On Jesus Christ
500 years later, Martin Luther and his work in the church still ring true today. But a misconception of many is that Luther wanted to break away from the church. This was never the case. Luther wanted to reform the church, to change the church and bring it back to the way it was focused on the salvation of Jesus Christ and the joy of serving God through love.
The Church of Obligation
The sense of the Catholic church of the time was obligation. There seemed to be little joy in serving God. And Jesus? Jesus was furious for his suffering. Where is comfort in a church like that? And then that’s another big problem, comfort. There was none. The people of the time were never certain of their salvation. It was constantly called into question, and people were terrified of the torment of hell.
But What It Really Is
Now as we read scripture, where could these teachings possibly have come from? Scripture doesn’t speak of unassured salvation; it speaks of certain redemption and life eternal. Where did this come from? From ignorance and lack of education. People simply had no clue what God said in scripture. This was for many reasons.
Firstly, lack of access to books. They were expensive and sometimes hard to come by. Then, lack of understanding of Latin. Latin was the language for the elite. If you studied to be a lawyer, priest, or held some high standing in society, you knew Latin. If you’re a commoner, you’re just out of luck.
My favorite thing about the Reformation was Martin Luther putting the Word of God into the hands of the people. He started by translating it into common German and then with advancing printing techniques, got it out to everyone.
God’s Word Matters
As we continually think about this and celebrate it, I think the big take away is that God’s Word matters for each individual and that change is necessary in the church. So do we need a new reformation? Is there something that needs to change? Is there someone lacking the Word of God, maybe even you? The only way to know this is to learn from Luther and be intimately involved. Knowing scripture, knowing the church these will lead you to great personal change and change that could effect the entire world, like the Reformation.
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