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Martin Luther: Heretic or Saint??? My personal study…

 

This week, October 31st, marks 500 years ago, since Martin Luther (ML) nailed his 95 thesis (points) of reform to the Roman Catholic (RC) Church door. ML was an extremely dutiful but embittered Augustinian monk of the RC church). All he could see was a God of hate: judgment and hypocriticalness  from those who preached and practiced Christianity. After years of trying to find his salvation through penance (punishment and self-affliction and works), he was sent to a university to learn and teach Bible studies… the reading, inductive studying (questioning, discussing, critically thinking) of the Scriptures changed his thinking about God. Scripture is the Living Word of God, able to “warn, rebuke, teach, exhort…” 2 Timothy 4:2  “pierce through bone and marrow” to change the mind and heart of sinful men towards God”.  Hebrew 4:12

It was Scriptures on “faith”, that transformed ML from a man, who hated God and himself to “love God with all his heart, mind, and soul, and neighbor, as His self” Matt 22:37, 39

Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,”

Ephesians 2:8,9). “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  … 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 1:12  “Yet to all who did receive him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to lst, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:10  “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  

Galatians 2:16 “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”

 

For more information, see this Movie: Luther… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuT-SDDdRVU

What reforms did ML, and others before, during, and after him, want from the RC Church? Simply, “Scripture Alone”, The Bible is the final authority for Christian doctrines and practices. But, that change, was not so simple. Like in Jesus’ day and today, there were men/organizations using God’s Word for profit, power, and gain… no one could buy or sell, marry, birth, baptize, die or bury without permission and payment to church/government authorities. The “Feudal” government authorities (national to local level) of Europe levied taxes and fees, which they split with the “RC church”. The RC church (national to local level), also, collected tithes, and sold relics (bones, hair, cloth, wood, etc., supposedly, used or of Jesus, the apostles, and saints), indulgences (rite of passage, without repentance, straight (no waiting in purgatory) to heaven, to all those who paid a fee), & church positions (from pope, cardinal, bishop, priest, etc.). By God’s grace, ML lived to marry, have a family, pastor the first Lutheran church (round table Bible studies that discussed and studied Scriptures in his home), and create Christian doctrinal hymns.

In conclusion: why do I say this same argument for faith in “Scripture Alone”, is, as in Jesus’ time and ML’s, vital, if man wants to find true salvation (an everlasting personal relationship, as Father to his  sons/daughters), with his Creator.

As it was then and is even now, the kingdom of God is at war with satanical forces, worldly philosophies, and fleshly greed resulting in the souls of many persons to continue in their bondage to sin and its judgment.  I Thessalonians 2: 18 “Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.” Romans 5:5Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.6The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.”

God was using ML to wake up the church so that his people would walk in the light of God’s Holy Word and understand the riches of our inheritance in Christ. (“The Truth shall set you Free.” “I came that you might have life more abundantly.” “We write these things so that our joy may be complete.”)

These religious practices of the RCC, which were challenged by Martin Luther and other Christian martyrs throughout the centuries, are manifesting themselves in the modern Christian  Church today by their bad theology and the empowerment of “professional church leadership” instead of the equipping of the saints.

Many Christians train themselves to live the Christian life from sermon to sermon or audio/video, rather than being equipped to study  God’s Word. True Biblical discipleship says “Go and make disciples (followers/students) baptizing (immersed) in the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, teaching them God’s Word (all that I commanded).”

Like ML, the solution  to our dilemmas (bondage to sin and lack of love, peace, kindness, goodness, and joy are found in yielding to the Spirit of God and submitting to the Word of God. Let us see that this is being done diligently and faithfully, corporately and individually.

 Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word [a]of Christ.

                                                                                                  

Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God; a man must believe God rewards those who diligently seek Him.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

Prayer: All that I love, will diligently seek God and by faith believe and receive Jesus Christ, as their Savior (atonement for sin),   so that they may have abundant, everlasting life, liberty, and joy.

PS…I am begging you to study a chapter in the New Testament every day and ask God to reveal Himself to you. If you would like to discuss and pray about what you are learning, please contact me. You are invited to come to an adult Bible study fellowship that meets in our Sherwood Forest neighborhood in BR every week.

Love Merle Reece

 

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