Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Just Shall Live by Faith

On this date in 1517 Martin Luther posted his "Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" (otherwise known as the 95 Theses) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg. Though there were some who came before him - such as Wycliffe and Hus - who began to re-open the doors to justification by faith alone, it is Luther that we consider the Father of the Reformation. And so began a rich spiritual heritage and today we celebrate Reformation Day.

One of my favorite of Luther's works is his Commentary on Galatians. He wrote it to encourage Christians to hold fast to the newly rediscovered "doctrine of faith" and keep from slipping back into the "doctrine of works and men's traditions." Here's a quote: "For in the righteousness of faith we work nothing, we render nothing unto God, but we only receive, and suffer another to work in us, that is to say, God."

Luther also composed one of my favorite hymns, sung at our wedding: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." (emphasis mine)

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great
and armed with cruel hate
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
Happy Reformation Day!

5 comments:

Janice said...

Yea for the Reformation! And that it coincides with a sadly underrated holiday, All Hallows' Eve and the ever-marginalized All Saints Day! Let's stick it to Satan reeel good tonight, yo! The saints are marchin' in!

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Preach it, sister!

Jenny said...

I loved singing that hymn at my mother's church this weekend. There is something really powerful about a well-done organ. Not too strong but really stirring. And I loved the 4th verse getting all full and excited!

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

I love the last verse, too.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

I knew you and I'd get along...good 'ole reformed girls :)

I LOVE that hymn!