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Living the Reformation Today

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2022 12:01 am

Living the Reformation Today

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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October 25, 2022 12:01 am

Our own righteousness can never save us from our sin. We need the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Today, Burk Parsons takes us back to the moment when Martin Luther first grasped this gospel truth.

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Luther saw this and it was at that moment by his own testimony, by his own account, that he believed he was born again by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came rushing in and regenerated his dead stony heart and Luther said, it's as if the gates of heaven were flung open wide to me. He realized it couldn't be his own righteousness. It had to be the righteousness of Christ. Luther was wracked with guilt. He worked harder and harder to perfect himself, to save himself from the wrath of God. Then he discovered the gospel. Hello and welcome to the Tuesday edition of Renewing Your Mind.

I'm Lee Webb. Today Dr. Burke Parsons will reflect on how God worked in the 16th century and he'll remind us that the same passion that fueled Luther and the Reformers then should do the same for us today. It is appropriate that we would come together to celebrate and remember the Reformation. It is right and good to do so and as soon as we draw our gaze to Luther and to Calvin and to the other magisterial reformers of the 16th century, as soon as we begin talking about them and praising them and they would be the first to say, you're praising the wrong one. Luther and Calvin and the other reformers would draw our attentions and our gazes to Christ alone.

They would tell us to fix our attentions on the gospel of Jesus Christ. They would say it is right to see what God has done it is appropriate to celebrate what the Spirit has done but they would be the first to say that they themselves were not by any means the heroes of the Reformation but that God was the hero of the Reformation. That the Word of God was the hero of the Reformation. That the Spirit of God was the hero of the Reformation. That it was God who by His sovereignty and by His grace and by His power who led these humble sinners to serve Him, giving them the stewardship and the message of the gospel to expound it and the whole counsel of God for the people of God. That God's people from every tribe tongue and nation from all around the world might hear that gospel that had been hidden and bound and chained for so long. And so it's to the gospel of Jesus Christ that we turn this evening to that passage which the Lord used by His Spirit to awaken Luther and ignite Luther to invade Luther's heart by his spirit and so we turn this evening together to Romans chapter 1 and verse 16 and 17.

Turn there with me if you would. We read in Romans 1 in verse 1 that this is the gospel of God. Paul says this is God's gospel. It's not fundamentally Paul's gospel.

It didn't belong to him. It was the gospel that Paul preached but this was the gospel of God. That Paul expounds throughout the epistle to the Romans and it is one sense is that which is expounded by God himself throughout all of sacred scripture. And so in verse 16 we read these two verses that ignited Luther and set the world on fire. For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.

To the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written the righteous shall live by faith. In 1505 Luther after completing his master's degree was caught in a lightning storm terrified Luther. And he impulsively swore and vowed to the Lord and vowed to St. Anne the patron saint of miners. And he vowed to St. Anne that he would become a monk if the Lord would save him. And immediately just two weeks later went back to Erfurt and knocked on the door of that Augustinian priory and became a monk and not just any monk. He became one of the most devout monks they had ever seen. As Luther was devout in his own studies previously he became devout as a monk.

He was the one most in prayer, most in fastings, the one most in his giving and the one most in his learning of the ancients. Luther became a devout man who was so seeking to end the torments of his soul that he might gain some measure of assurance. That he might know God and that he might be able to rest in God and have true peace in God. But he didn't find it and all his duties and all his obediences he didn't find that peace. He didn't attain that peace and that hope and that freedom that he so desperately wanted that tormented his soul night and day.

And so his mentor, his father confessor, the head of the Augustinian order Johann von Staupitz sent him to Rome on business. And in 1510 Luther went to Rome and what Luther saw brought him to a point of total despair. What he saw were the abuses of the church. He saw the abuses of the doctrine and he saw how Rome was laying upon the shoulders and the backs of its people great burdens.

The weight that no man could carry. That men had to work their way to God. That they had to climb a ladder of works righteousness. That they had to do whatever they could not only to earn their way to God but to earn their way out of the man-made tradition of purgatory. That they had to buy indulgences not only for their own souls but for the souls of those who had already passed on that they loved. And Luther was brought to the end of himself and coming back from Rome and there in Erfurt he was unsettled.

So Staupitz sent him to Wittenberg. And there in 1511 after Luther completed his doctoral studies he became a professor at Wittenberg. And it was in 1513 in the fall when Luther was lecturing on the Psalms. And it was there when he first came in contact with another verse that was equally as significant for Luther as was Romans chapter 1 in verses 16 and 17. He came upon Psalm verse 1 of chapter 31 where we read this Psalm of David. In you O Lord do I take refuge.

Let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me. In your righteousness Luther read deliver me. Luther realized that the only way he could be delivered the only way he could be rescued in his sin the only way that he could be redeemed from this torment of his soul the only way he could really find assurance was to be rescued and he had to be rescued by none other than the righteousness of God. So in coming to Romans 1 in reading about the gospel of God and hearing the gospel of God explained as Luther not only read through Romans but studied Romans and studied Romans in the original language not just the Latin and as he came face to face with verses 16 and 17 he read that it wasn't just any righteousness but it was righteousness and the righteousness that God gives to his people that gives people the gift of faith that enables his people to live by faith and that all of this comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now in verse 16 a verse that I'm sure most of us are familiar with the Apostle Paul writes for I am not ashamed of the gospel.

You ever wondered about that? Why would Paul say that? Why would he say I'm not ashamed of the gospel? Well because it's easy to be ashamed of the gospel. The world thinks the gospel is absolutely foolish and what is the gospel? Well the gospel is very simple it's so simple that even little children can understand it. Beware of those men I don't care if they're in pulpits or robes and all the regalia that the world can offer if they complicate and confuse the gospel if they make the gospel incomprehensible they're not preaching the very simple gospel of Jesus Christ and the gospel is that victorious message of all that our triune God has done in and through the life and the ministry the perfect law keeping and fulfilling all the righteous demands of the law of God in the atoning and sacrificial and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ his resurrection and all his life and ministry even now it's what God has accomplished through Christ and all by the power of the Spirit this story is news and it's good news but you see in preaching that good news we also have to preach the bad news and that's what Paul does in Romans 1 and 2 and 3 just after he talks about the gospel and how we're not to be ashamed of the gospel and what the gospel does Paul starts to talk about the wrath of God well it's not easy to talk about the wrath of God you know when we're growing up what is one of the things that our mothers teach us and they teach us if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all well it's not very nice is it to tell people that they're going to hell it's impolite to tell people that they're dead and sin and rebels against God and hate God and are running from God and if God came and showed up we'd kill God it's not very nice to tell people that they're sinners and deserving of the wrath and the condemnation of God that'll send them to hell forever it's hard to do that and you know what it's also embarrassing but we need to be more concerned about our neighbors soul and hell than we are our own embarrassment and telling them about it and so we we become timid and afraid and we're scared to talk about the gospel because in talking about the gospel we have to talk not only about the good news but the bad news of sin and wrath and condemnation we have to tell people about their own wretched sin we have to tell them that we're sinners just as they are and that we need this good news that we need the righteousness of Christ so we're afraid and we grow timid because we want to be liked we want people to think that we're nice and that we're polite we need to be kind people and we need to be the most loving people in all the world so loving that we're willing to tell people the truth and that we would speak the truth and love from God's Word about sin about God's wrath about the condemnation that is upon our sin so that we might tell them about the gospel that we might tell them about the true hope and the true peace and the true joy that they can have in Christ forever Paul says I'm not ashamed of the gospel though the world thinks it's foolish though they ridiculed him and laughed at him on Mars Hill Paul says I'm not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes to everyone who calls in the name of the Lord to whosoever believes it's to everyone to the Jew first and also to the Greek but Paul said that the gospel is the power of God and we can't miss that notice what Paul didn't say he didn't say the gospel simply contains information about the power of God or that the gospel tells us where to find the power of God or how we might access the power of God through other means but that the gospel is the power of God it is that story that good news that God has ordained be the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit might invade and conquer and regenerate hearts and make those stone rebellious wretched hearts his own it's through the proclamation of good news of all that God has done that our God reigns that he gets all the glory that he is sovereign that he is gracious and that he is not only the creation of our own souls he is the author of that which saves our souls not ashamed of the gospel Paul says for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes and then Paul quotes a portion of Habakkuk 2 4 he says for in the gospel in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed how we get the righteousness of God that's what Romans is all about that's what the Bible is all about how that we a bunch of wretched rebellious sinners at enmity with God how we can obtain the righteousness of God and Paul pulling from Habakkuk 2 4 says the righteous live by faith the just shall live by faith from beginning to end from first to last from faith to faith we don't start by faith and then end up trying to earn heaven or earn the righteousness of God by works it's God who begins a good work in us and it is he who is faithful to fulfill it in us and so as God leads us to faith as he leads us to repentance as Paul points out in Romans 2 for even as Luther understood that it's repentance from beginning to end as he stated in his first thesis of his 95 when our Lord and Master Jesus Christ called us to repentance he will that the entire life of a believer be one of repentance we don't just look back upon a time when we were first justified when we first got saved and say I repented then know that we would live an entire life of repentance that we would live an entire life at the foot of the cross trusting Christ throwing ourselves upon the righteousness of Christ resting in his righteousness and not our own Luther understood this and as he read this and he had this first tower experience there in 1513 and 1514 as he came face to face with the grace of God and how it is this righteousness from which we are delivered is God's own righteousness that he gives to us a righteousness that is outside of ourselves a righteousness that comes from someone else a foreign and alien righteousness that God takes all those righteous deeds and righteous works of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and places them upon us imputes them to us taking our sin and placing them upon Christ that's why the wrath of God was poured out on Christ not because of his sin but because of our sin he died and that's why his death is a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for our sin Luther saw this and he was at that moment by his own testimony by his own account that he believed he was born again by the Holy Spirit the spirit came rushing in and regenerated his dead stony heart and Luther said it's as if the gates of heaven were flung open wide to me he realized it couldn't be his own righteousness it had to be the righteousness of Christ as we celebrate the Reformation rightly as we remember what God did through Luther as we remember what God did through Calvin and the other reformers it is absolutely fundamental that in living in light of the Reformation we live in light of the gospel that we live in light of the good news of Jesus Christ for our souls and that means dearly beloved that we would be a people who are proclaiming the gospel living the gospel in our own hearts as we are repenting of our sins and trusting Jesus Christ as we live in light of the gospel that means we're gonna live a life of freedom a life of grace a life of love that we as God's people would be known by a people of love and that doesn't mean putting aside the truth it means contending for the truth and in contending for the truth we would also be a people that would be always striving eagerly for the bond of peace in the Church of Jesus Christ that we would be a people who are defined and known by the world as loving people speaking the truth and love and speaking the gospel of grace of the Lord Jesus Christ until Christ returns that we would be a people when they see us they don't see us pointing at ourselves they don't see us as a people trying to gain glory for ourselves they see us as a people who are pointing to our triune God saying to God alone be the glory dr. Burke Parsons reminding us of what it means to live out the Reformation in our own lives this week on Renewing Your Mind we are remembering the good work done by men like Luther and Calvin but remembering the Reformation should just be the starting point we want to apply these biblical truths to our lives in his book Luther and the Reformation RC Sproul guides us through several crisis moments in the life of Martin Luther that led to the recovery of the gospel justification by faith alone was a liberating truth for Luther and the other Reformers and it's good news for us to cherish today we'd like to send you dr. Sproul's book as well as his 10-part teaching series by the same title Luther and the Reformation contact us today with a donation of any amount and we will send them to you you can do that online at Renewing Your Mind org or when you call us at 800 435 4343 well the message you heard today was from our ligature ministries Reformation 500 celebration in 2017 I'd like for you to listen to a portion of a question and answer session from that conference that our president and CEO Chris Larson moderated you'll hear from RC along with dr. Sinclair Ferguson the phrase semper reform and a always reforming it's often used to describe a constantly changing in evolving Church is that what it means that the church should always be in flux unfortunately every heretic appeals to that mantra semper reform honor always reforming we mistake novelty with Reformation the point of that motto initially was that in the 16th century not all of the errors and the church were reformed not all of the dirty linen was cleansed there was still a lot of work left to do and there's always a lot of work left to do but always reforming does not always mean always changing you know there are those today who who say that the Reformation was a tempest in a teapot or it was all a misunderstanding or it was a terrible division in the body of Christ an unnecessary split where people were fighting over unnecessary details the Apostle Paul tells us that we're supposed to try to live at peace with all people not be by nature quarrelsome and engaging in nitpicking theological arguments but Paul himself when he wrote to Galatians just rose up in fury at the Galatian heresy why because it was a different gospel we're talking not about a tempest in a teapot we're talking about hurricane Irma we're talking about one that is devastating to life and limb whenever you negotiate or compromise the necessary saving truth of Jesus Christ now we always have to be involved in Reformation and like I said every heretic in modern church claims that as an excuse for departing from the truth of Scripture but that was not its original intent Chris you know I I was brought up in and you know the wilds of Scotland and where they were still speaking Latin and I was I was always taught from early days a Christian that the Latin motto was ecclesia reformata that is the church that has been reformed semper reformanda est always needs to be reformed and I think sometimes when people say well semper reformanda you really need to stop them and say well what about the reformata once the church has been reformed according to Scripture it needs to keep on being reformed according to Scripture but let's get a reformed first not changed first but reformed according to Scripture well tomorrow we will continue our focus on the Reformation we will hear from Ligonier teaching fellow dr. Derek Thomas who will remind us of the important role that Luther played in confronting the Roman Catholic Church we hope you'll join us again tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind you
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-12 16:07:08 / 2022-11-12 16:15:43 / 9

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