Today, October 31, 2016 marks the 499th anniversary of the day Martin Luther posted his famous 95 thesis on the Catholic Church. He wanted to make a statement against the things that were wrong with the Catholic church of his day. They were selling indulgences and promising things that they could in no way fulfill. A special entrance into heaven would be promised if certain indulgences were bought. That’s right; for a special price, someone’s entrance into Heaven could be paid for.
Nearly five hundred years later this sounds absolutely absurd. We are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8, 9), everybody knows that now. Thanks to Martin Luther, we have this knowledge today. In the 1500’s, not many people had this revelation. The Catholic Church said you could only have the Bible in the Latin language that very few understood. This way the Catholic Church was able to hold many people in bondage and basically make up anything they wanted and people believed it to be true. I mean, how could the Pope ever lie?
Of course, Martin Luther had been studying to be a monk and so he was allowed to read the Scriptures and he understood the Latin language. A hunger for God began to grow on the inside of him. He wanted the truth. He did the things he was told, in order to get rid of his consciousness of sin, but never found relief. One day, God spoke to him saying, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17b). He understood at that moment that no amount of works could cleanse his sinful nature, only on the faith of the blood of Jesus could one be forgiven.
As I mentioned, Martin Luther wanted to make a statement but he wasn’t necessarily trying to start a revolution. He was only standing up for what he believed in. Luther spoke his mind against the ruling authority of his day. He did this because they were misrepresenting the God of the Bible. They were making things up that weren’t in His Word. His statement made such a wave that it has changed the course of history.
With all my heart, I believe that God wants to do something revolutionary once again. I don’t think He’s going to use one particular person to do it. I believe that there are many believers rising up who want to be revolutionaries. (Are you one of them?)
Of course, Jesus was a revolutionary, not in a rebellious way. He obeyed authority but He spoke and lived the truth. Jesus made some pretty radical statements for someone who wanted a following. He was bold in what He said. He didn’t do or say things to get people to like Him. Sometimes, it almost seems, as if Jesus would say things to make people think twice about following Him. Why did He do this? He didn’t want half-hearted disciples. He wanted 100% commitment.
The revolution that’s arising is one where people will live their lives 100% committed to Jesus and the Gospel. Instead of trying to figure out how close to the boundaries one can step without sinning, they will try to stay far away from the limits. There are people who want to live the way Jesus spoke of. Look at this claim from Jesus:
Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. Mark 9:34b-35
Do these words sound like someone who wants to be famous? Is it something you would say to someone you want to be your friend? Jesus was stating how much commitment it would take for His true disciples. We must be willing to give our lives entirely to Him. We should be willing to even die for His sake. This may not be the popular thing to say today, but this was and is what Jesus wants.
What is your commitment level to Jesus? Do you truly follow Him with all your heart? I know you’ve been forgiven and Jesus loves you for who you are, however, He loves you even more than to keep you there. He’s ready to take you to greater depths of His love. He’s just waiting for you to rise up and take His challenge. Follow Him with your whole heart.
Let’s be the ones to start a fresh revolution. A revolution that’s ready to live as Jesus commanded us to. His desire is that we would live the righteous life that He’s provided for. He doesn’t only want to give you eternal life and forgiveness of sin. His desire is for you to be made in His image. Allow Him to do what He needs to do in your life to make you more like Him.
As we permit this, we will see people will have a new respect for Christianity. We will be known for our strength and genuineness to live as Jesus lives, instead of being known for our sins or for spiritual leaders falling away.