Mark 7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘ This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Yes. I am a little behind on a post that many of you probably expected. This past Saturday, October the 31st highlighted the 492nd year since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door of the Castle Church (Schloßkirche) in Wittenberg, Germany. Yes, I have been to the door, and yes, it was a lot like Christmas to run up to the actual door and stand (there I stood! Ha. . .) (being as it was in the Weinachten season anyhow).
So our lesson from Bro. Martin this year: It is imperative that we recognize at this point Luther could little be expected to believe he was beginning a great schism with the Catholic church. He rather was quite concerned with practices (namely the dishonest selling of indulgences) that over-shadowed the Gospel and right Christian living. He simply posted his (well-thought-out) concerns about the practice calling for a serious debate the day before many would go to church to squander their cash on such indulgences to feed the coffers of the powers that be.
In our current state of evangelical life there are many, if not countless traditions, observances, preferences, worldly distractions, books, concerts, songs, sermons, figure-heads, and programs that get in the way of the preaching of the gospel. We should be ashamed. So, this (though a few days later) Reformation anniversary, search your heart, nail down what it is, and be done with it, so that the Gospel of grace by way of Christ alone permeate your heart. If we find our notices on the right doors, maybe one day they will collapse and we can separate from the over abundance of distractions once again, and for all.
“This is nothing else but locking up the gospel and obscuring everything. For “Gospel” is Greek and means “good news,” because in it is proclaimed the saving doctrine of life, of the divine promise, and grace and the forgiveness of sins are offered. Therefore works do not belong to the gospel; for it is not laws but faith alone, because it is nothing whatever but the promise and offer of divine grace. He, then, who believes the Gospel receives grace and the Holy Spirit.” Luther, The law and the gospel