The Festival of The Reformation

The Lutheran Reformation was not about being right. It was not a fight for the joy of conflict. It was about hope and comfort when fearful or even terrified. The question then was much more, ‘How will I face God?’ whereas today it seems more ‘How will God face me?’. Nevertheless the goal then and now – the purpose of Jesus is for all of us to have life in all its fullness in a world we have made full of … whatever we have made. (Look at the news!) This life in Christ is based on what God has said and done – which is either true or not.

So we learn and teach things like …

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true. (Luther’s Explanation to the 2nd Article of the Apostles’ Creed – Small Catechism)

And when defending the faith we follow things like …

Moreover there needs to be a teaching in the church from which the faithful may receive the certain hope of salvation. For the opponents give bad advice when they command people to doubt whether or not they have obtained the forgiveness of sins. (Apology to the Augsburg Confession IV: 119)

The point of the Reformation and the joy once found not to be given up again was the comfort of God’s Word which speaks reality – is real deep in our bones – that we have sinned and are trapped in sin and death and that through Jesus and his cross and empty tomb we have God’s promise of a new identity, a new life – in Christ – which we receive or trust through faith. We then live each day as that new creation in Christ while still in this world of death and this body of sin. That makes for a struggle! Each day! To trust God and his Word and to follow Jesus. The point of the Reformation was and is practical – to help people live and die because the power of sin, death, and the devil have already been defeated! And that is why the followers of Jesus can live with hope, joy, confidence, and security in this world.