21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 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; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
I went to a Lutheran Christian College in Irvine, California. At the time it was called Christ College. Now it is called Concordia University Irvine.
One year we had a Halloween Party on campus. We all dressed up. I dressed up as the wizard Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
There was a student from another country. He was a Christian of Lutheran background. He came to the party and immediately became very distressed. He called the party blasphemous. He told several of us this was not the way to observe Reformation Day.
After we explained to him the tradition of dressing up at Halloween, we all had a good laugh and he became less agitated and stayed at the party. He even bobbed for apples.
Reformation Day is remembered for a few things.
First, in 1517 Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Fives Theses on the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, Germany. In these theses, Luther discussed disagreement with the Roman church concerning repentance.
Second, this is seen as the start of the Reformation and the birth of the Protestant church. Actually, the causes of the Reformation began years earlier. This was merely a point in time of the ongoing changes occurring in the church of that time.
Third, this event thrust Martin Luther into the leadership of the Reformation Movement. Luther was not the only reformer. There were others. But his actions seem to make him the leader of the movement.
Now, when we observe Reformation day, we remember the main teaching of the movement. We are saved not by our Good Works, but we are saved by the works of Jesus Christ.
I hope this good news brings hope to you on this day and all days.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California