Have you ever felt that you weren’t good enough? That no matter how hard you tried you could never measure up? Every day, we face expectations from parents, teachers, coaches, and we often fall short. Our rooms are never clean enough, our grades are never good enough, our efforts on the field are never strong enough. As much as we aim to please, we are caught in a constant battle of meeting demands that seem to be just out of our reach. We are left with the tension of trying harder or simply giving up. However, the anniversary of the Reformation reminds us of the hope we have.
The Struggle Is Real
So, how should we respond when we feel that we aren’t good enough for God? Can we really know and have confidence that God has accepted us and that we are saved? Some people have taken the option of trying harder. They have burdened themselves with the attempt to earn their salvation through good works. If they can pray more, give more and do more, eventually, they believe, God will have to accept them. Sadly, others have chosen to give up. Like the rich young ruler in Mark 10, they counted the cost and they found the price too high.
Fortunately for us, this is not a new struggle. A little over 500 years ago, an Augustinian Monk was crying out for God’s acceptance. He did everything he knew to try and earn his salvation. He took pilgrimages to holy sites to view relics in the hopes of a divine revelation. He locked himself in his room, spending days in prayer and fasting, nearly to the point of starvation. He practiced self-flagellation, whipping himself into obedience to God’s will for his life. None of these efforts gave him any more confidence that God was pleased and ready to accept him. Finally, he turned to the book of Romans, and everything changed.
We almost never heard of Martin Luther. History has a strange way of finding the right person at the right time to be a catalyst for change. He was raised in a home not very different from yours. His parents were God-fearing people who made great sacrifices for him to receive a great education. He wanted to become a lawyer, a respectable profession that would give both prestige and financial security. One day, on his way home from law school, Luther found himself caught in a violent storm. Fearing for his life, he cried out for deliverance and promised he would enter the ministry if his life was spared. His prayer was heard and Luther kept his end of the bargain. He left law school to become a monk.
Real Significance of October 31
Today, All Hallow’s Eve (October 31, 1517) marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the castle door in Wittenberg, Germany. These were statements against the abuses of the church of his day. This event triggered the Protestant Reformation, and the church of Jesus Christ would never be the same. Luther did not set out to create a new denomination. He was looking to reform the church. But, what was it that led to reform in Luther’s own heart? The answer: Romans 1:17, “The righteous shall live by faith.” This verse changed everything. For the first time in his life, Luther had the confidence that his confession of faith had the power to save his soul.
What the Reformation Means for Us
Romans 1:17 was the answer to his question — he was already accepted. He was already good enough. Luther’s, and your, and my, profession of faith in Jesus Christ is what makes us righteous in God’s sight. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Are you walking in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? My challenge for you today is to remember that in Christ you are accepted, you are good enough, and you are the righteous sons and daughters of God.
Pete Zefo is a high school Bible teacher at Mount Paran Christian School. High school Bible classes are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this week and learning how Wycliffe, Has, Luther, and Calvin impacted Christianity as we know it today.
Lessons in history and Bible such as this are taught daily on the MPCS campus. To learn more about how faith and intellect are nurtured together, please click here.