Sunday, 31 October 2010

Luther on justification- Reformation day

I greatly longed to understand Paul's Epistle to the Roman's and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, "the justice of God", because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God but rather I hated and murmured against him. Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what he meant. 
Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that "the just shall live by his faith". Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and the sheer mercy God justifies us though faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before "the Justice of God" had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. As cited in Here I stand by Ronald Bainton.

Luther had tried like the Apostle Paul before him to earn his way into heaven, he knew that the gate was closed and he was condemned before a holy and just God. Then Martin Luther discovered that all his works could not save him but God who was rich in mercy could, only through the sacrificial death of God's Son on Luther's behalf. If you are ever to have your sins forgiven then the only way is to come realised that you have no hope and plead for the mercy of God through the death of Christ. Today is not Halloween it is reformation day, have a blessed day!

Stephen <><

Saturday, 16 October 2010

the 16th of October 1655

Are you a a people pleaser? Paul says that he came to the Thessalonians declaring the message that God had given him that he sought to please God and not man. Hugh Latimer was like this bishop of Worcester in the time of Henry the 8th he would often remind himself when speaking in court not to fear the king of England but to fear the king of kings. A few years later during the reign of Mary Tudor, Hugh Latimer was arrested along with many other Evangelicals for his beliefs. Many protestants in England had simple switched sides when Mary came to the throne but not Latimer or Ridley, they were willing to die for the sake of pleasing God rather than pleasing their monarch. Today is the 16th of October 2010, on this same day in 1655 they were burnt on the stake. Latimer was heard to cry 'Master Ridley be of good cheer and play the man for we light a candle that I trust by God's grace , In England I trust, will  never be put out.'

It is good to remember the effect the gospel had on men and women in times past and pray that we will be bold to face the much smaller opposition we face when sharing the gospel with others. We are called to be faithful too, it is my prayer that God would remind us in the UK of those in England, Scotland and Wales who laid down their life for the success of the gospel in times gone by and that God would raise up a new generation to herald the gospel in our day.