By Dave Simonson - Immanuel Lutheran, Spirit Lake
The month October is typically an enjoyable month. That has been true this year. Farmers are busy bringing in the harvest, temperatures have even been in the 70s. The change of color in the trees is coming slowly.
One of the fun things that happens in October is Trick or Treat. Kids dress up and go get treats, usually in candy. Isn’t it nice to have a reason to eat some candy? The amount of sugar in the candy may limit our consumption for much of the year. I prefer my sugar to come in the form of chocolate. Life needs “a little sweetening” if you ask me.
I write to you, not to promote Halloween. I want to sweeten your soul. Included in October is the birthday of the Protestant Reformation. A little over 500 years ago, Martin Luther and others changed the direction of God’s church in a sweet way. God used Luther and others to reform the thinking the church for all time.
Ephesians 2:8-9 are critical verses that are foundational to the reformation and to our spiritual lives. Paul wrote “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” These verses tell us that our eternal hope lies in the grace of God. We will live forever by a gift from God. Not by anything we do, only and all by the works of our loving God. We simply live in response to God’s love and His gift.
One key concept as we live a life in response to God’s grace is the word “repent.” Repent simply means to turn 180 degrees. When we find ourselves going in a wrong direction, we turn back to God. If we are headed to sin, we turn 180 degrees back to God and his grace.
Luther is known for three pillars of the reformation to simplify our thinking. He brings to our attention three Sola’s. Sola means alone. Luther based must of his teachings on Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone. All that we believe and teach about God is from the Bible. We test all that we teach based on what the Bible states (Scripture Alone). And as we just stated, we are saved by God’s gift of love (Grace Alone). And we know these to be true because the Holy Spirit changes our heart to believe and trust in God (Faith Alone).
When you think about it, God's pretty sweet. May He daily reform our lives with His heavenly candy. It’s calorie free.