Revelation 14:6-7; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This Sunday, we celebrate the 504th anniversary of the Reformation. Indeed, this was an important moment in history for us as Lutherans. We often think about the Reformation as the fight over the bible, that is the fight of returning to the bible as our sole source of faith. In this way, it transformed an entire segment of Christianity for ages to come. Yet, what is the lasting legacy of the Reformation for non-Lutherans?
To answer this question, and in the spirit of the Reformation, we must return to Scripture. Every year, we hear this passage from the Gospel of John. Again this year, we will hear, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:31-32. The fight of the Reformation was as much about holding to an objective truth as it was holding to Scripture. In reality, you can’t have one without the other. These two are so closely linked.
Truth. That is the lasting legacy of the Reformation, not just for us as Lutherans, but for all people. We teach and proclaim an objective truth, a truth for everyone. For what is this world without truth? Life without truth is a life without meaning, without relationships, and without God. So, Satan has been the great liar and deceiver ever since the beginning. He has gotten us to buy into the great lies of this world. The lie that happiness and joy are found apart from God. The lie that man can be gods himself!
So, when we defend objective truth, we’re not simply defending a concept. We’re defending our faith in Jesus. For Jesus Christ is “the Truth” (John 14:6)! He is the objective truth that gives our lives meaning and purpose, happiness and joy, and above all, freedom in his eternal kingdom! For this is the objective truth, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took on human flesh, was born of a virgin. He came to break us free from the dominion of Satan and his lies, that we may also be free from sin and death. For so, Jesus went to the cross to die for sinners, that is for you and me. Yet, on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead to proclaim to us a truth more powerful than death! For this is our truth, our objective truth. That in Jesus, we are free!
So, Happy Reformation! May we remember this truth now and always since it is for us freedom and life!
Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.