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History briefs — Luther comes to Christ

 Romans 1

NKJV

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

The following is an insightful passage about Luther’s faith, from a beautiful tribute to him and Calvin, two men whom the Lord used in an extraordinary way during an extraordinary period of history. The article is interesting and edifying in many ways.

SOLI DEO GLORIA — GLORY TO GOD ALONE

 

Luther’s Loyal Son

BY R. SCOTT CLARK

reformation 21

Luther was the pioneer of Protestant theology, piety, and practice. He gradually became Protestant in the period between 1513-21 as he lectured through the Psalms, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and the Psalms again. Reading Augustine as he lectured on the Psalms he realized that the doctrine of man and sin that he had learned in university did not agree with Scripture nor did it agree with Augustine. In the Psalms he saw that human depravity is greater than he had thought and grace is greater, more powerful, and more free than he thought, that God has elected his people to new life and true faith unconditionally, from all eternity (sola gratia). By the end of his lectures on the Psalms he had become young, restless, and Augustinian but he was not yet a Protestant. As he lectured through Romans, he began to see that the basis on which we stand before God is not the sanctity wrought in us by grace and cooperation with grace but Christ’s righteousness accomplished outside of us and imputed to us. As he lectured through Galatians he came to see that view confirmed and he began to re-think what he had learned about the role of faith in salvation, that it was not just another virtue formed in us by grace and cooperation with grace. The picture became clearer as he lectured through Hebrews and the Psalms again. Late in life, looking back at his theological development, he said that it was as he lectured through Psalms again that the light went on, as it were, and he realized that it is faith that apprehends Christ, that rests in and receives Christ and his righteousness for us. It is through faith the Spirit unites us to Christ so that he becomes ours and we become his ki(sola fide).

 

 From :https://pilgrimsprogressrevisted.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/history-briefs-luther-comes-to-christ/

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It’s no accident that October 31 is both Halloween and the
day remembered for the start of the Reformation. Both key off November
1, All Saints’ Day — or All Hallows’ Day (Hallows from the Latin for
saints or holy ones).

On All Hallows’ Eve, October 31, 1517, the Roman Church received the
world’s most memorable trick-or-treater at its door — though barely
noticed at the time — when a lowly priest named Martin Luther approached
the threshold of the Wittenberg branch in Germany and posted his 95
measly theses (they aren’t nearly as impressive as you would expect).
The coming All Saints’ Day seemed like an excuse for sparring about the
Church’s deplorable sanctioning of indulgences, and Luther was angling
for some good-spirited debate.

The Spark That Set the Church Ablaze

But the Church was centuries overdue for major reform, the kindling
was in place, and Luther’s little, almost accidental spark set the whole
thing ablaze. Some nameless visionary translated his theses from the
Church’s Latin into the people’s German and sent them far and wide
through the printing press. In time, this lowly monk proved to have what
it took to hold his ground against the Church and the world — “Here I
stand,” he said courageously before the emperor — and under God, he
became the human tip of the spear for massive reform.

Of course, that’s the reductionistic version of the story. Save his
own Son, God doesn’t change the world through a single person, but
through people. With and behind every remembered individual is some
great collective. Luther had a significant supporting cast in his
Wittenberg work, and on the grander scale, it took many others — like
Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Martin Bucer, Thomas Cranmer, John Knox,
and many more, all with their associates and assistants — to usher in
reform far and wide. God gave Luther the bullhead to do the pioneering.
He was the battering ram. But five centuries of Protestant Christianity
wouldn’t have followed in the wake of Luther alone.

Enter the French Humanist

In particular, Calvin’s thinking, writing, and systematizing played a
complementary role to Luther’s pioneering flair. Born in 1509 in
France, Calvin was only eight years old when Luther played his Halloween
trick in 1517.

Calvin was trained as a humanist and converted sometime between 1528
and 1532, while at university, and by All Saints’ Day, 1533, he had
himself in hot water. Sixteen years after Luther posted his theses,
Calvin’s friend Nicolas Cop delivered an All Saints’ convocation
heralding Christ as the sole mediator (not the “saints”). Some suspected
this patently Protestant address was written by Calvin, and he soon
found himself on the run.

As an exile, Calvin spent time in Basel, and seemingly by accident
came to Geneva for a single night in 1536 on his way to Strasbourg for
an ivory-tower, academic life of study and writing. The fiery Swiss
reformer William Farel learned Calvin was in town and prevailed upon him
to join the reformation cause in Geneva. Calvin acquiesced, and stayed
there in Geneva — minus a three-year exile from 1538–1541 — until his
death in 1564 at age 54.

The “Accidents” of Providence

Reformation Day is ripe for remembering an array of biblical truths — that the Scriptures are our only final authority (sola Scriptura);
that God accepts us by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis
of Christ alone (justification); that God often uses the unlikeliest of
people to turn the world upside down; that God doesn’t just raise up
great individuals, but collections of people, veritable teams, each with
his lot, and his own local cohort, to bring about widespread change;
and all these conspiring to the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria).

But here’s one to keep on your radar this year. God loves to use the
seeming accidents in our lives to bring about his purposes. It’s the
“accidents” that remind us we’re emphatically not the captain of our own
soul, we’re not piloting our own destinies, we’re not on the block for
planning the whole thing out and executing on it. How sad a course it
would be if we cooked up the whole thing out as we came of age and spent
the rest of our lives living out our boring and uncreative little
visions?

That such a Reformation began almost 500 years ago, and continues to
this day — this is your story too — is not the result of any human plan.
It has been the “accidents” which have given it the markings of divine
fingerprints — Luther’s accidental spark that first lit the flame and
Calvin’s accidental lone night in Geneva that changed the course for
that city and for a major branch of Protestant theology.

Reformation Day is a reminder to embrace the “accidents” in our
lives, look for the hand of providence, and trust that his plans for us
are better than our wildest dreams. For those who are his, he truly
works together for their good all things — even and especially the
seeming accidental — to do for us far more abundantly than all that we
ask or think (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20).

October 31, 2013

 

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-reformation-trick-or-treat


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