As you might have heard, this year marks the 500th anniversary of The Reformation.
This really is an important event in the Christian calendar, but its importance lies not in the nice round number of 500, nor in the fond feelings it might arouse.
The significance of this anniversary is not so much about looking back, but it’s about a call to continue what was begun.
It is in the nature of man to take the loftiest of things and turn them around for the worst.
This is perhaps most true of religion.
There is no higher or loftier subject than that of God, and yet given enough time all religions seem to displace God from the centre and replace Him with man.
We shape God in our own image… we speak of what man can discover about God… we create the works that man must do to reach the God we have invented.
When the Incarnate Son became man He exposed the corrupt nature of man-centred religion.
This was God become flesh, revealing God to us.
Man, a finite sinful creature, has no hope to reach up to God and take hold of Him.
But in Jesus, God reaches down to us: in his Word he reveals himself to us.
What’s more, we have no ability to work our way up, as if somehow we could erase the debt of our sin.
And yet it is grace, all of grace, that Jesus pays our debt for us. We simply accept this gift by faith.
The Reformation exposed what the church had become: man-centred religion… and it sought to take us back to God.
The five “Solas”, (which just mean ‘alone’ in Latin), are the the catch-cry of the Reformation.
And these five statement capture this so well: ‘Scripture Alone,’ ‘Faith Alone,’ ‘Grace Alone’, ‘In Christ Alone’, ‘To the Glory of God Alone.’
And the call of the Reformation continues today, to turn from man-centred religion to Christ alone.