October 31 marks the 498th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed 95 points of debate with the pope and the Catholic Church to the church door. The time before the Reformation was one of great spiritual darkness. This darkness was caused because of a complete and total ignorance of God’s Word by all people. It was only when people began to study the Word of God for themselves that they were brought out of darkness and into His marvelous light. The Reformation was based upon five absolute truths, or “sola’s.” (Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, Glory of God alone.)
The last four point are clearly taught in Scripture, and it only takes a few verses to prove these great truths. However, therein lies the issue. Do we trust Scripture alone or must we bring in other traditions, teachings, and doctrines? The whole of the Reformation hinges on this question.
The people of Jesus’ day held to traditions
In Mark 7 Jesus blasts the Jews for their traditions. No man can serve two masters. You will eventually hold to God’s Word or reject God’s Word for your traditions. The Jews clung tightly to their traditions.
The people of Jesus’ day rejected God’s Word
In order to keep their traditions, the Jews rejected God’s Word. They did not seek to know the Lord’s will or mind; they simply did what they had always done.
The people of Jesus’ day were ignorant of God’s Word
Because of their traditions, the Jews never truly studied to see what God’s Word actually taught. They were ignorant of God’s Word because they had laid it aside for their traditions.
Jesus clearly calls the people back to a child-like faith and obedience to the Word of God. We are called to be a people who reject tradition and live in accordance with His Word alone.
We live in a day like Christ’s and Luther’s
Luther’s day was much like Christ’s and much like our own. We live in a time where “Christians” follow their traditions and blatantly reject God’s Word. We must be a people who live by Scripture Alone, and we must teach our children to reject traditions and follow God’s Word.
Will you lay aside the teachings of men? Will you study the Word of God? Will you teach your children to follow the Word of God?