Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Mighty Fortress is Our God - Proclaiming the Gospel in Every Generation

“One hammer in the hand of an obscure Augustinian monk changed the world forever.” These words from Dr. R.C. Sproul are a good summation of probably the greatest historical event of the past 1000 years.  No hammer rang louder than the one wielded by Roman soldiers as they nailed the Lord Jesus Christ to a rough, wooden cross 2000 years ago; no hammer since then rang louder than the one that Luther swung as he nailed his 95 theses, or complaints, to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1517.  The echoes of that hammer are still heard today, in tens of thousands of churches all over this continent and around the world, as preachers stand behind pulpits and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  While the world celebrates a pagan holiday of fear, death and despair, we celebrate the new life of freedom in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the recovery of that doctrine from the layers of centuries of tradition that had obscured it. 

Luther took a stand for truth in a time when to do so meant trial, imprisonment, and even death.  It took extraordinary courage and supernatural boldness for Luther and the other Reformers to proclaim the truths of God’s Word.  The establishment of Church and State were the fierce enemies of this truth, and dealt severely with any who opposed their agenda and rule.  However, the truths of the Gospel fell upon the fertile hearts and minds of millions who were hungry for freedom.  The day in which we live today is not unlike the one Luther lived in almost 500 years ago.  Moral relativism of the age, the secular humanism of the state and a hostile media are all diametrically opposed to the Gospel and Biblical Christianity.  That is why it is imperative that, in every generation, we declare the Gospel anew, with clarity, boldness and the power of the Holy Spirit.  The five solas of the Reformation are still the rock upon which our faith is founded: Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), Solus Cristus (Christ Alone), Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone).

In honour or Reformation Day (October 31) and Martin Luther, I am going to sing Luther’s most famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in our church services tomorrow.  It is based on Psalm 46, his favourite Psalm, and was a source of great encouragement during the darkest days of his life.  Steve Lawson writes, “Many times during this dark and tumultuous period, when terribly discouraged, he would turn to his co-worker, Philipp Melanchthon, and say, ‘Come, Philipp, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.’

As you listen to this great hymn, my prayer is that the words will not only encourage you, but will embolden and empower you to stand for the truth of the Gospel and to herald the Word of God as Luther and the Reformers did so many centuries ago.

Soli Deo Gloria!