On this day 491 years ago, Martin Luther sent out his Ninety-Five Theses to some church leaders. It’s also reported that he also posted his proposal at the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, which served as the university bulletin board.
The first of the Ninety-Five Theses was this:
Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite [Repent Ye], willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
Tim Keller writes:
On the surface this looks a little bleak! Luther seems to be saying Christians will never be making much progress. But of course that wasn’t Luther’s point at all. He was saying that repentance is the way we make progress in the Christian life. Indeed, pervasive, all-of-life repentance is the best sign that we are growing deeply and rapidly into the character of Jesus.
What we must see is that God never promised to transform us into super Christians who would never again sin and never again need to repent. He never promised anyone strength apart from continued dependence upon Himself….
Be encouraged then, fellow believer. In calling you to daily repentance, the Lord Jesus is not simply giving you good advice. He is saying, “If you are a child of mine, you must continue to repent.”
Part of a Reformation Day Symposium organized by Tim Challies.