The 5 Pillars of the Reformation ~ Faith Alone

Soul Snack 22/14 ... Lessons from a Thief.

On October 31st in 1517 Roman Catholic priest Martin Luther exploded out of the ecclesiastical blocks. He did not create The Reformation, but he sure gave it an exponential momentum as he nailed 95 theses to a church door in a German backwater, Wittenberg.

Under a medieval morass of religious darkness the Christian salvation story had been lost.

The scales of deeds were balanced at a divine assize, and hell the only sentence for those found wanting. (Unless of course the dead souls were purchased from a false purgatory.)

The ancient scurry for good deeds, the ignoble priestly judgements at confession, tempered by a church given to perpetual profit, all buried the truth and emptied the Cross. (The day a soul could earn their welcome in heaven was the day Jesus' torture was squandered!)

Yet the last Reformation is now becoming the lost reformation.

Piety and salvation is yet again measured in the protestant congregation by attendance at church, appearance on church rosters/committees, tithing or regularity at mid-week Bible Studies.

An old and new Christianity teaches that discipleship is about 'doing'.

Countless protestant Christians are now educated well beyond their ability to obey. Salvation by faith is nodded to, but salvation by works is carefully gauged.

The contemporary Protestant church is re-clothing ancient Catholic heresies. It doesn't sell indulgences, but many do keep a well audited list of tithers.

For a church that confesses it is by faith alone that salvation is secured, it must begin to teach that discipleship is first devotion. It is then and only then, from the knees of humility, amidst the soul-soaking prayers of repentance, that the true disciple will hear what the Lord would truly have them do.

Christian activity is no more a measure of the inner man, than a choir's full voice truly reflects its heart.

Some 2000 years ago another man, a vagrant also upon a cross first made this discovery. Tied beside Jesus on Calvary, this thief had no opportunity to do any good things, yet now spends his eternity in paradise.

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:42-43)

Mary still and always will trump Martha, and the humble will learn from an ignorant thief.

Today's Soul Snippet:

"To affirm a person is to see the good in them that they cannot see in themselves and to repeat it in spite of appearances to the contrary." ~ Brennan Manning

READ the INTRODUCTION to The 5 PIllars of the Reformation

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