So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16
Quick! What happened 499 years ago today? Answer: Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 Theses, or proposals for change, to the door of the Catholic Church. Luther disagreed with the Catholic practice of “indulgences,” or promises to offer remission of sins to their purchasers. Luther believed that Christians are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:5 and 2:8) and that forgiveness could not be purchased. The 95 Theses are widely accepted as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, with many believers moving towards a new doctrine rejecting many of the practices of the Catholic tradition.
In modern times, much is being done to bridge the gap between Catholics and Protestants. It is important to remember Christ’s challenge to continually “reform” our minds and our hearts to align with God’s will. Christ Himself was the great Reformer, constantly provoking His followers to seek Him and the kingdom of God. Romans 12:12 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In 1 Corinthians 2:16, we are told to strive to have “the mind of Christ.” Christian leaders including philosopher Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine) have stressed that the church is in a constant state of reformation.
The word “reform” means “to make better as by stopping abuses; improve; cause (a person) to behave better.” Synonyms include words like “reorganize, restructure, transform, revolutionize and upgrade.” So both the body of Christ—that is, the church—as well as each member of that body all have a responsibility to continue towards the most Christ-like state which may be achieved in the church and in this life.
If you were to nail 99 Theses—or ideas for improvement—on the door of your church, where would you begin? Jesus would say to begin by laying your life down at the feet of the master and daily seeking His will for you.
God of Good Changes, support our efforts to follow You in Your perfect ways. Amen