A Halloween That Changed the World
Today is the tale of two days. One day, most Americans know well. The other, they should. Today, millions of people will celebrate Halloween Day with its accompanying costumes and trick or treating.
My purpose in this post is not to focus on whether or not Christians should participate in all the Halloween festivities. I think conscientious Christians can do so in a Christ-exalting way, but I’ll refer you to this article for more on that. My focus in this post is to direct your attention to another day that Christians should know about and give time to express gratitude to God for.
October 31 is also Reformation Day. On this day, 497 years ago, Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses on the door of a castle church in Wittenberg, Germany effectively setting off what has historically come to be known as the Protestant Reformation. As Protestants, this is part of our story; the gospel has come to us because of what God did 497 years ago today. This was a Halloween that changed the world!
One of the mottos of the Reformation was the Latin phrase "Post tenebras lux" or "out of darkness, light" which is so fitting for a number of reasons. Preeminently, however, the light that came out of a very dark time was in fact the rediscovery of the gospel of God's grace. And the specific article of doctrine at the very center of this rediscovery was justification by faith alone in Christ. Martin Luther was a human being much like you and I: desperately in need of God’s grace. We cannot be accepted in God's sight by our own works or merits. So what is our hope? We need God to do something for us – and He did! And it was through Luther’s own crisis of knowing he was a sinful man who stood condemned before a holy God that God shined the revelation that ungodly people are justified by faith in Christ alone. No more need to pretend to live in anxiety or fear that you don't measure up. No more acceptance of accusation - whether from the devil, other people, or yourself. Through faith in Christ, He is your righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), and wisdom, and sanctification, and redemption, so boast (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)!
Today celebrate the wonder and beauty that your okayness, your acceptance with God is as solid as Christ himself. Today look to Christ alone for the realization of God’s favor toward you. Look away from yourself, your circumstances, and your past and look to Jesus Christ alone. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,
For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus never sinned, yet your sins were counted as his and he was treated as such on the cross. You are not righteous in yourself, yet his righteousness is counted as yours and you are treated by God as righteous in him. All this is true by empty-handed faith – coming to Christ with nothing to give to him; only to receive from him.
Is it coincidental that the Reformation was kicked off on the very same day as a pagan Celtic holiday? Of course not! Could you imagine a world where glorious and gracious gospel truths were celebrated more than costumes and candy? Let’s pray for that… and let’s start in the church. Today, on Reformation Day 2014 let's gladly affirm that our hope is build on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other than the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.