Have A Happy "Tower Experience" Today!

Picture Source: http://voiceofthesheep.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/luther95.jpg
October 31st of 1517 was the day that the Reformation began.  The 95 Theses hit the door of the castle church and within two weeks, all of Germany had a copy of the 95 Theses.  Two months later all of Europe had possession of the 95 Theses.  However, is this where it all began?  Every major story typically has a back story.  This is Martin Luther's...

In 1513 AD Martin Luther had a "Tower Experience" as he read Romans 1:17 from the tower of the Black Cloister in Wittenberg.  Burdened with the bondage of the Law and captive to his own works righteousness he encountered Romans 1:17 in a completely new way as the Gospel broke through!  In recounting this experience Luther states,  "The entire Holy Scripture became clear to me, and heaven itself was opened to me."  (Lutheran Study Bible Footnote)  What was this profound breakthrough for Martin Luther?

Romans 1:17 says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith."  As we can see from the text Paul says that the Gospel reveals the righteousness of God!  So just what is this righteousness of God that is revealed in the Gospel?  

During the time of Luther many interpreted this passage to mean that the Gospel revealed God's demanding righteousness for humans while others interpreted the passage as if the Gospel laid forth God's virtuous righteousness in which He judged mankind.  In other words, the interpretive consensus was that the Gospel revealed: the righteousness of God that demanded, the standard that was to be obtained and the standard in which all would be judged.  Simply put, the 16th Century view of the Gospel was a Gospel that demanded and judged; making the Gospel into Law... "GLawspel."

The great news that Luther discovered in 1513 and for us here and now is that the Gospel has never and does not reveal righteousness that demands nor judges.  The Gospel is not Law and the Law is not the Gospel.  Rather the Gospel reveals a righteousness that is given and received by faith.  The Gospel reveals a righteousness that is in Christ, a righteousness for reconciling the world to God.  The Gospel reveals the righteousness of Christ that is ours through faith! 

What this meant for Luther and also means for us is:  
This is the Gospel!  This is what the Reformation is all about!  This is our heritage!  The Righteous and Suffering Lamb of God for you and me received by faith.

May the Gospel continually grant each and everyone of us a "Tower Experience" as we are continually blessed and put in awe of the gift of Jesus.

Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria!

Happy Reformation Day.


To Read More On The Reformation:
The Laying of a Foundation
Coming Back to the Heart of Repentance

To Listen to Pastor Matt's Reformation Sermon: