For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
Dear Lord Jesus, how did it ever come to pass that there was even a need for the Reformation? What circumstances created the necessity for Martin Luther to nail his Ninety-Five Theses to the front door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517? How did the church lose the gospel?
These questions are rhetorical, for I know quite well why we’ll always need to be rediscovering and reaffirming the gospel of your sovereign and saving grace. I know this because I know my own proud and foolish heart. By nature, I’m allergic to the thing I need the most—the riches of the gospel.
The gospel declares me to be a whole lot worse off than I can imagine, and certainly a whole lot worse than I want to acknowledge. I needed a substitute, not a model—the Second Adam, not a 2nd chance. I needed you to live a life of perfect obedience for me. I needed you to fulfill all the demands of the law for me. Thank you for doing this perfectly.
I needed you to take my place upon the cross—taking the punishment I deserve for all the ways I fall short of God’s glory; breaking, ignoring, and not living up to God’s law; and worst of all, worshiping other gods. I needed you to exhaust God’s just and holy wrath against me and my sin—lest I despair of my guilt. Thank you for doing this perfectly. I even needed you to give me the faith by which I could receive this free and full justification. This you have done perfectly as well. From beginning to end, salvation is of the Lord!
On Reformation Day 2014, I gladly affirm that my hope is built on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other than your blood and your righteousness. On you, Lord Jesus, the solid and saving Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. Keep bringing me back to the gospel, Jesus; keep bringing me back to the gospel plus nothing. So very Amen I pray, in your most holy and gracious name.