Sunday 4th October 2020 Devotion
Scripture:- Habakkuk 2:1-20
Topic:- Martin Luther 
Text:- Habakkuk 2:4
On the heels of this new understanding came others. To Luther the Church was no longer the institution defined by Apostolic succession; instead it was the community of those who had been given faith.
Salvation came not by the sacraments as such but by faith. The idea that human beings had a spark of goodness (enough to seek out God) was not a foundation of theology but was taught only by “fools.”
Humility was no longer a virtue that earned grace but a necessary response to the gift of grace. Faith no longer consisted of assenting to the church’s teachings but of trusting the promises of God and the merits of Christ.
This turned him against many of the major teachings of the Catholic Church. In 1519 -1520, he wrote a series of pamphlets developing his ideas – ‘On Christian Liberty’, ‘On the Freedom of a Christian Man’, ‘To the Christian Nobility’ and ‘On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church’.
Thanks to the printing press, Luther’s ’95 Theses’ and his other writings spread quickly through Europe. In June and July of 1519 Luther publicly declared that the Bible did not give the pope the exclusive right to interpret scripture, which was a direct attack on the authority of the papacy.
Finally, in 1520, the pope had had enough and on June 15 issued an ultimatum threatening Luther with excommunication. He was then summoned to appear at the Diet of Worms, an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire.
He refused to recant and Emperor Charles V declared him an outlaw and a heretic. Luther went into hiding at Wartburg Castle.
In 1522, he returned to Wittenberg and in 1525 married Katharina von Bora, a former nun, with whom he had six children.
Finally, he realized the key to spiritual salvation was not to fear God or be enslaved by religious dogma but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation. This period marked a major change in his life and set in motion the Reformation.
On October 31, 1517, Luther, angry with Pope Leo X’s new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica, nailed a sheet of paper with his 95 Theses on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door.
Though Luther intended these to be discussion points, the 95 Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences – good works, which often involved monetary donations, that popes could grant to the people to cancel out penance for sins – as corrupting people’s faith.
Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press, copies of the 95 Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months.
Luther died following a stroke on February 18, 1546, at the age of 62 during a trip to his hometown of Eisleben. He was buried in All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, the city he had helped turn into an intellectual center.
Prayer Point:- Oh Lord God, help me to to understand faith more than before and to live by it henceforth by fire, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Happy Lord’s Day!