I bet I can make all of your days in October better! But before I tell you how I’m going to do this first answer this question: what comes to mind when you think of October? “The beautiful foliage!” “The cool – crisp air!” “Time to winterize the house once again!” “Geese flying in formation!” “The smell of leaves and wood burning!” “Trick - or - Treat!” Did any of you come up with Martin Luther or the Reformation as you thought of things that reminded you of October?
We are not “Lutherans” because we are followers of Martin Luther, but we are Christians who call ourselves “Lutherans” because we follow not the man Martin Luther but the message of Martin Luther. Luther’s preaching, teaching, and life all revolved around the Word of God. On Reformation we praise God for giving us the man Martin Luther, who God used to reveal once again the almost forgotten Gospel.
Back in Luther’s day churches were preaching work righteousness or in other words “It’s up to you to get to heaven!” But as Luther studied the Word of God, the Holy Spirit called him by the gospel and demonstrated to him – through the Word - that salvation was not by works but by God’s grace alone. God’s grace isn’t attained by our intellect or reason but is ours through faith alone. And faith only comes to us by the Holy Spirit alone – who uses God’s Word and sacraments alone to create that faith. The three cornerstones of the Reformation therefore were: Sola Gratia (Salvation is ours through grace alone), Sola Fide (Salvation is ours through faith alone), Sola Scriptura (Salvation is found in Scripture alone).
Luther knew he was a damned sinner, but in Christ he knew he was a delightful saint; we see this here when he said: “Lord Jesus, I am your sin, you are my righteousness; you became what you were not – to make me what I was not.” Luther knew the supreme importance of the Word when he writes: “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word, otherwise I did nothing – the Word did everything.” Luther also knew that faith was a gift from God. The amount of your faith – weak or strong – doesn’t save but the object of your faith saves. The object of Luther’s faith was Jesus Christ; and the object of our faith is Jesus Christ. Luther once wrote "A person may carry a hundred gulden (unit of money) wrapped in paper, or he may transport them in an iron chest; yet the treasure is entirely the same. Though you or I have a stronger or weaker faith in Christ, Christ is, after all, the same, and we have everything in Him."
Now knowing that our salvation is not within but with HIM everything becomes better. Now go and enjoy the beautiful foliage of October, the cool – crisp air, the smell of wood burning, or whatever you do in October. See I told you I would make your October better, of course, I didn’t make your October better – the Word of our free and full salvation in Jesus Christ made it better.