October 31 Is Not Just About Halloween


Relax. This is not one of those “halloween-is-pagan-not-for-Christians” articles. This is not even about trick or treat. This devotional article is about a historical event that is way  much more significant. 

I’m talking about the Reformation.

Next year, this coming October 31, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses (or Propositions) against the sale of Catholic indulgences on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg, Germany. That’s the spark that has set ablaze the Reformation, even though there were people before Luther who also spoke against the unbiblical teachings prevalent at that time. 

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In 1515, as he struggled with his lack of righteousness before God, Luther was reflecting on this verse: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17)
Here was his key to spiritual certainty: “Night and day I pondered,” Luther later recalled, “until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.” [1]
Later on, Luther got disgusted with the blatant sale of indulgences, “a papal fund-raising campaign to complete the construction of St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.” [2] So, on October 31, 1517, he posted his 95 Theses as a challenge for a theological debate on the issue of indulgences. 

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That is what we Bible-believers should commemorate every October 31 instead of Halloween. We should focus more on celebrating the message of the Reformation: We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Let me clarify that Luther did not introduce a new teaching. It was in the Bible all along but church traditions kept people from seeing it. Luther merely discovered it and pointed people back to the Word of God. 

It’s much like what happened to King Josiah when they found a copy of the Law (Read 2 Kings 22:1-23:30).
The temple had fallen into disrepair and had been desecrated by Manasseh who had built pagan altars and images in it [2 Kings 21:4–5, 7, 21]. In Josiah’s 18th year as king, at age 26, he began to repair the temple and restore it to its former condition. … In the process of renovating the temple a copy of the Book of the Law (either the Book of [Deuteronomy] or, more likely, the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible) was found. Evidently Manasseh or Amon had destroyed other copies so that the discovery of this one constituted an important find. [3]
When they read the Scriptures, King Josiah led the nation to repentance. They removed the idols and its altars all over the country and restored the practice of the Passover meal.

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And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant. …  Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him. (23:1-3, 25, ESV)

As we revisit what happened at the Reformation, it’s my prayer that our hearts would burn once again with passion for the Good News of salvation.

[1]  Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language 2nd Edition (Nashville, TN: Zondervan, 1982; reprint, 1995). iBooks edition. Emphasis added. 

[2] Ibid.

[3] Thomas L. Constable, “2 Kings” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, Eds. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, 1985), 581. 

Comments

  1. We can do our share with messages like this one, or be more proactive in our villages or communities into leading the people back to the truth. We can still show cooperation by giving ALL TREATS, NO TRICK..and go further by giving tracks or quick messages to those who'd want to stay longer..on God's love and His saving plan for us.

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  2. I hope you didn't miss this at the beginning of the article:

    "Relax. This is not one of those 'halloween-is-pagan-not-for-Christians' articles. This is not even about trick or treat. This devotional article is about a historical event that is way much more significant."

    This article is about another historical event that happened on October 31, that is, the Reformation.

    Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete

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