“While I am nothing, yet I know that I have prevented many disturbances that would otherwise have occurred in Geneva…God has given me the power to write… I have written nothing in hatred…but always I have faithfully attempted what I believed to be for the glory of God.” ~John Calvin.
While others celebrate Halloween and All Saints Day, one event near and dear to Protestantism often goes unremembered by many in the local church today. Reformation Day is a celebration of the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. These 95 theses were written primarily in protest against the use and sale of indulgences.
This event in history sparked a frenzy of Reformation. From this Reformation came what are commonly called the five “Solas” of the Reformation.
-Sola Scriptura: The “Scriptures Alone” are the “sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.” (LBCF C1 P1)
-Sola Fide: Justification is by “Faith Alone,” apart from any works.
-Sola Gratia: Salvation comes by “Grace Alone,” apart from any meritorious works. “The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts…” (LBCF C14 P1)
-Solus Christus: “Christ Alone” is the mediator between God and men, and there is salvation through none other. “This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other.” (LBCF C8 P9)
-Soli Deo Gloria- All “Glory is God’s and God’s Alone.” “God…is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them…” (LBCF C2 P2)
It is this last “Sola” that spurred the Reformation. It wasn’t just the doctrine, or the theology. It was an intense desire to glorify God alone. Luther, and the many other reformers who sought to right the wrongs of the church of their day, sought to reform a man-centered church into a God-centered church. Whether it was indulgences, church order, or the order of salvation, they sought to honor God and reform not only the hearts of others, but their own hearts as well.
As we remember the Reformation saints who sought to reform the church, let us also consider that the best way to honor their memory is to reform our hearts from self-centered to God-centered. In our opening quote from John Calvin we see a man who genuinely desired to bring God alone the glory in all that he did. Let us celebrate Reformation Day with the phrase “semper reformanda” which means “always reforming.” Such is the state of every church and such is the state of all men. Let us look at our lives and determine what areas are not yet lived Soli Deo Gloria and begin a reformation in our own lives.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” ~1 Corinthians 10:31
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