But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and it is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26
There are a pair of days in October that are celebrated in various way. One is Columbus Day, October 14th this year, the other is Reformation Day, October 31st. Of course there are those who remember Halloween. But I want to consider Columbus Day and Reformation Day. Christopher Columbus sailed west in 1492 and “discovered” the Americas. When Columbus arrived in the western hemisphere there were people already inhabiting the land. There had been ancient empires in both North and South America when the Europeans set foot on the soil. Perhaps in would be good to consider that Europeans and the indigenous peoples discovered each other. But at that time, just who were the aliens? The point is that there were people and things already established in the this hemisphere. The Europeans just found them, they didn’t create them.
Not quite thirty years after Columbus journey, Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses Regarding the Sale of Indulgences” on the chapel door in Wittenberg, Germany. It is from this date that the beginning of the Protestant Reformation is marked. Martin Luther did not create or invent anything new. He simply re-discovered that which had always been, the “truth” as in the “truth” will make you free. The truth established by God is disclosed in Jesus Christ. That is that righteousness and salvation are gifts of God apprehended by faith. Human works do not achieve salvation, even works endorsed and/or demanded by the church. Thus it is that Luther reformed the church according to the Biblical truth that one is saved by grace through faith. This was nothing new, but something long forgotten.
So the age of discovery begun by Columbus may indeed have a contributed to Martin Luther’s quest to discover the truth of God’s grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, and righteousness. May we continue to rediscover this truth that gives us life and freedom now and forever. Pastor Bret