The catalyst for greatest transformation of the professing church since the apostles first preached the Gospel took place 496 years ago. Martin Luther's nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, began a debate that marked the beginning of the Reformation. The Augustinian monk became the center of a great controversy after his 95 theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. His initial protest was against the pope's attempt to sell salvation through indulgences. Later he contended for the faith on the most important doctrines of justification and the supreme authority of Scripture over church tradition and popes.

The medieval bishops of the Roman Catholic Church had long rejected the biblical truth of justification by faith. They taught and believed that good works can merit God's favor. They denied that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Bible teaches that good works are the evidence of true saving faith, not the means by which a sinner is justified before God (Eph. 2:8-10). Good works do not increase a person's righteousness nor does sin decrease a justified person's standing before God as Rome teaches. Justification is God's declaration that believers are acquitted, forgiven of sin and righteous in His court of justice. This declaration is possible because divine justice was satisfied by the substitutionary work of Christ's life, death and resurrection. God the Father imputes or reckons to the believer's account, the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

Luther's translation of the Bible into German put the Word of God in the hands of the people enabling them to test every man's teaching through the lens of Scripture. He also reestablished the biblical view of the priesthood of all believers who offer themselves as spiritual sacrifices to God.

Let us all be thankful of God's work through the Reformers. Let us stand firm on the precious biblical truths that the Reformers were persecuted and killed for defending. We must remain sanctified by the truth of God's Word and not be carried away by the ecumenical winds of compromised doctrines. We must defend the purity of the Gospel for the sake of God's elect and for His glory and purpose!