490 years ago today, a monk with a mallet posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. One of the 95 Theses said this: "62. The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God." In essence, that monk rediscovered and applied the gospel within his context.
It's just as important for us to rediscover and apply the gospel today, first to ourselves and then in our ministries. Tim Keller puts it this way:
We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced.” The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s of Christianity, but it is the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.
We are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal. 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col 1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom 1:16-17)….
All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel…
The main problem, then, in the Christian life I that we have not thought out the deep implication of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. Richard Lovelace says that most people’s problems are just a failure to be oriented to the gospel—a failure to grasp and believe it through and through. Luther says (on Gal. 2:14), “The truth of the gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine… Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” The gospel is not easily comprehended. Paul says that the gospel only does its renewing work in us as we understand it in all its truth. All of us, to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do not “get” it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discovery of a new implication or application of the gospel—seeing more of its truth. This is true for either an individual or a church.
So Happy Reformation Day! I pray that our ministries will be characterized by the rediscovery and application of the gospel.
Some Reformation Day resources:
- White Horse Inn's broadcast on The 490th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation
- The 2007 Reformation Day Symposium at Challies.com