A reason to celebrate

By Andrew Packer
Special to The PREVIEW
It was on Oct. 31, 1517, when the bells ringing from the steeple of the Castle Church at Wittenberg were calling the multitude into the house of God. The crowds were gathering in the long street, awaiting the beginning of the service.
Suddenly, a man hurriedly pressed through the waiting multitude; lean and lank was his body, and pale his face, but his eyes beamed with life and fire. He stepped up to the door of the Castle Church, drew a paper from his dark monk’s cowl, and with vigorous blows of the hammer nailed it to the church door.
This man was Martin Luther. And he posted his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, sparking what is now known as the Reformation. The posting of the 95 Theses gave rise to a series of debates which caused Luther to radically rethink the teaching of confession and absolution. As a result of these debates, Luther eventually came to recognize the free grace of God in the unconditional promise of the Gospel.
This Oct. 31, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of that event because it was the beginning of the recovery of the central truth of entire Bible. That central truth of the Holy Scriptures is that a lost and condemned sinner is justified and saved eternally, not by obedience to the law, but through faith alone in Christ the Savior who by his obedience and death has won righteousness and eternal life for us.
Yet there are still many today, 500 years later, who do not know this glorious truth or what it means for them and their salvation. They still believe that they can be saved because they are a “good person” or because they have done nice things for people or because they aren’t as bad as some of the truly terrible people who have walked this earth.
All of these thoughts though are nothing more than a false, misleading dream. We cannot save ourselves, and any attempt to will only end in our eternal torment.
No, the glorious truth recovered 500 years ago is still the magnificent news that all people need to hear today — a lost and condemned sinner is justified and saved eternally, not by obedience to the law, but through faith alone in Christ the Savior, who by his obedience and death has won righteousness and eternal life for us.
This is truly Good News worth celebrating not just on this anniversary, but each and every day.
At Our Savior Lutheran, we will be celebrating Reformation Sunday this Sunday, Oct. 29, at our 9 a.m. service. This will be followed by a lunch and games.

This story was posted on October 28, 2017.