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Something Greater Than Halloween Happened on October 31st

Luther’s love prompted the proclamation of God’s Word

Luther called the Word of God the “external Word” because it was outside of man and his ability to mold it into something of his own thinking. God’s Word was not the product of man—it was the divine revelation of God. Therefore, Luther would often refer to it as the external Word in order to make that point. Luther was not a secluded theologian who only came out of his office for personal pleasure. Luther spent years faithfully preaching and teaching the Word to people. It was not enough to study, translate and write for Luther! He had a burning desire to preach the Word of God. “Luther was one of the greatest preachers in the history of Christendom… Between 1510 and 1546 Luther preached approximately 3,000 sermons. Frequently he preached several times a week, often two or more times a day.”4 Luther put emphasis on the Book! He loved it and he preached it! “Luther had one weapon with which to rescue the incarnate Word form being sold in the markets of Wittenberg. He drove out the money changers—the indulgence sellers—with the whip of the “external Word,” the Book.”5

Luther’s love prompted the Reformation

The goal of Martin Luther was not the Reformation. However, God used a man who had an intense and unwavering love for Him to spark it. How did Luther come to know God and His love? It was through the Word of God—the divine revelation—the external Word—that God revealed Himself to Luther. It changed Luther from a religious Catholic scholar to a man who loved God and became saturated with His Word. This spark turned into a flame that roared through Wittenberg and through the world liberating our worship from the rule of the Catholic system and spreading the Word to the common person. It was not a superficial love or a selfish love. It was a genuine love for God that was rooted in a Book—the Word of God! October 31st 1517 should always be remembered. It changed the Luther and it changed the world—for the glory of God.

We should be forever grateful that God raised up a man who would risk everything to stand up against the perverted teachings of Rome. Today, we experience ultimate religious freedom. It wasn’t the case in 1517! Although Pope Leo X called Luther “a wild boar (pig)”—he should be remembered as a faithful soldier of the cross who sparked something greater than Halloween known to us as the Reformation!

Luther wrote, It is vain to rely on salvation by letters of indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity (#52 of 95).6

Pastor Josh Buice

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1. Piper, John – Martin Luther: Lessons from His Life and Labor:http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Biographies/1470_Martin_Luther_Lessons_from_His_Life_and_Labor/

2. Meuser, Fred W., Luther the Preacher, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1983), p. 37-38

3. MacArthur, John, Deliverance: The Neglected Doctrine, No. 5

4. Walther von Loewenich, Luther: the Man and His Work, trans. by Lawrence W. Denef, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1986, orig. 1982), p. 353.

5. Piper, John, Martin Luther: Lessons from his Life and Labor – http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Biographies/1470_Martin_Luther_Lessons_from_His_Life_and_Labor/

6. Luther, Martin, The Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences – Commonly Known as the 95 Theses – http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/95theses.htm

This article originally appeared here.

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Dr. Josh Buice serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia — just west of Atlanta. He is the founding director of the G3 Conference, the author of a theology blog (DeliveredByGrace.com) and is passionate about expository preaching, biblical theology, and the local church. Josh studied at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned his M.Div. and D.Min. in expository preaching. With a passion for sound biblical theology and ecclesiology, Pastor Buice spends much of his time preaching, writing, and talking about these important issues. He is married to his wife Kari and together they have four children (Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson). When away from the office, Josh enjoys spending his time with his family, hunting, running, and a good cup of coffee.