It is that time of year when cool breezes start to roll in, the days get a little shorter, and everyone is looking forward to their favorite autumn things. One thing that often gets overlooked is celebrating Reformation Day, mainly because people are unaware of what it is!
Join our newest writer Megan Rivera as she walks us through the history of Reformation Day and what it means to military culture.
The Founder of Reformation Day
Born in Germany in 1483, Martin Luther’s parents ensured that he had an excellent education in hopes of becoming a lawyer. But that isn’t what happened! One day as he was walking, Luther got stuck in a thunderstorm, during which he became terrified that he would die and be unable to stand right before God. Luther grew up on the traditional teachings of the time, which stated that he had to earn his way to Heaven. In desperation, Luther vowed that if he made it out of the storm, he would become a monk. God spared his life, and Luther became a monk.
The Start of the Reformation
Even as a devout monk who taught Bible classes and preached, Martin Luther continued to struggle with overwhelming feelings of guilt and unforgiveness. Luther also had an issue with many of the teachings within the church. One of those things was the selling of indulgences, which gave people a false sense of salvation. He studied the Bible for the answers. Finally, he found it! God opened Luther’s eyes to understand we are justified by faith in Christ.
After studying the Bible for himself, Luther found issues with Catholic teachings when compared to Scripture. On October 31, 1517, Luther hammered a list of these issues to the church door to be discussed the following day, which was All Saints Day. This list became known as the 95 theses.
Martin Luther once said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.” He understood that nothing and no one is above Scripture. Luther stood firm on that, even if it meant his death. At the time, church services and the Bible were only available in Latin. Luther translated the New Testament into German, allowing everyday people to read the Scriptures for themselves.
Reformation Day Today
Stepping out in faith had huge ramifications for the world, but Martin Luther didn’t know that at the time. But, he was bold enough to do it. Martin Luther’s actions kicked off the Protestant Reformation, which shaped the world we know today.
As we celebrate Reformation Day, it is an excellent time to remind ourselves that grace is a gift from God because of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf on the cross. Many articles today will talk about the Five Solas: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Sola Scripture, and Soli Deo Gloria. These Latin phrases state that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed by Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.
Only Through Grace
In military life, it is easy to feel like we have to do more or work harder. A military spouse holds down the fort while her husband is gone. A woman who wears the uniform leaves behind everything in service to the mission.
We put in a lot of hours and a lot of work.
It can be easy for that idea to slip into our spiritual life too. But work does not save us. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast.” We cannot outwork sin or earn the grace of God.
Let us praise God on this Reformation Day for the gift of his grace!
Sola Gratia. Sola Fide. Solus Christus. Sola Scripture. Soli Deo Gloria.
Happy Reformation Day from Planting Roots!
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Megan Rivera comes from a family with a long line of military service. Going back to her great-grandfather, at least two people in every generation have served. Military life is unique and comes with ups and downs, but we have a firm foundation in our God and His Word through it all. Megan looks for opportunities to support the military community, a group that selflessly has given so much for others.