Tuesday, October 31, 2006



"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross."

- Paul's Letter to the Colossians, 2:13-14

Re-Formation (1) Re-Formation (2)

By Ramone - October 29-30, 2006

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther essentially started the Protestant Reformation. He had been a Catholic monk, priest and teacher, but he saw problems in the church's teaching. Mainly, you could pay a lot of money and the priest would declare, "Your sins are forgiven," etc. Luther studied what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans & Galatians and he learned that we are saved by "faith, not by works" (by believing in God's grace as opposed to what we do).

So, on October 31, he posted a list of 95 things that were wrong with the Catholic teaching -- 95 things that disagreed with the Bible. He nailed the list to the church door in Wittenburg. When the people & the leaders saw it, it caused a lot of discussion and argument. The main article of Luther's belief, the rock which he stood on, was justification by faith. Because he made his protest using the Bible, he set a standard of the supremacy of Scripture over church teaching & institutions.


This last Sunday, I visited a Lutheran church with my wife & her sister. It was my first visit to a Lutheran church, and I'm not used to the older style. But it was nice. God was there, and I was blessed to sing "A Mighty Fortress" at the end in Japanese. In fact, I had completely forgotten that we were nearing the end of October and that this would be Reformation day! It was a nice treat.

To explain the occasion to my wife & her sister, I wrote most of the summary above. But you know, a bunch of words aren't very easy to jump into, especially if they're in another language, so my wife didn't read it right away. I took the piece of paper back, and over the words, I drew a picture of Luther nailing the list to the church door. That instantly rang a bell in Yoko, because I'd told her the story before. So she read it and then shared it with her sister, translating it into Japanese. When I got home I began a larger version of the picture, and then the next day finished a second version with the text from Colossians. (Click here to see the original sketch)

I had wanted to put a text from Galatians (perhaps 2:16) or from Romans (around 3:21ish), since Luther's profound points were mostly made from those two books. However, the Colossians text (2:13-14) summarized everything better.

And surprisingly, I hadn't noticed the "nailing" theme. Really, the "works" Luther was protesting represented a new kind of "Law" ... it mattered little whether the Law was the Old Covenant or a new kind of "church law", the effect was still the same: it forgot that God had nailed the Law to the Cross in His Son. What Luther essentially was doing was re-nailing the Law back to the Cross! He was declaring that the works of man were finished in the Son's perfect sacrifice. This is the Gospel. And this freedom from Law is especially moving for me as a Former-Adventist, because I was raised in a church that had also resurrected the Law, and in seeing what Luther did (rather, what Christ did), I see the "posting" of the notice of my freedom. (^_^)

I praise God because He did not allow the knowledge of what His Son accomplished to be forgotten. I praise Him for resurrecting it and "re-forming" us around the more-than-sufficient sacrifice of His precious Son. Yet I grieve at the divisions in the Church all over the earth. I celebrate the Gospel---of Christ's sacrifice---and I am so, so thankful He kept it alive! But I mourn for those who do not know, and with Christ I pray for the day when we all can love one another in sight of His awesome love for us.

[Why did I call this "re-formation"? See the comment below!] (^_^)


See also: "Happy All Hallows Eve!"

I posted this on the FAF forum on October 31 2006, in a now archived discussion.


This last Sunday we went to visit some friends' church... it's a Lutheran church, and I'd completely forgotten that it was the end of October, haha.

I made a couple pictures of the event and wrote a few thoughts here on our art blog.

The event that sparked the reformation is particularly poignant for us as Former Adventists, I think. In Adventism we celebrated Luther & the Reformation, and saw ourselves as the torch-bearers of the Reformation (goodness, I need to get my hands on a copy of that Geoffrey Paxton book!), but we missed the central pillar... "by faith, not by Law" (or "by grace, not by works").

In Adventism, we latched only onto the "Catholicism is wrong!" part of the Reformation. The main reason we thought Catholicism was wrong was that they supposedly changed the Sabbath to Sunday. After that, yeah, Church Authority versus Scripture. But the Sabbath was the main thing. In other words, we thought the Reformation was more about the purifying of Laws, not about faith instead of the law.

So coming to know Christ, to live in Him by faith, to know that His grace saves us, to know that the Law is nailed to the Cross, to know the light of the New Covenant! to know all these, has been like experiencing the "re-formation" all over again.

I say "re-form" because maybe it's felt like Christ has been "re-formed" inside of us. Yes, we believed. Many of us were born of the Spirit in Adventism. We were saved there, but we probably did not realize it, nor were we able to understand that we were saved. When Adventism came apart for us, it was like the blinders came off and we began to Jesus more for who He really is. Who He is in our sight was forever "re-formed", and we began to learn who we are in His sight! We began to learn that we are indeed saved in Him! And our understanding of who we are in Him was forever "re-formed". (^_^)

Happy Reformation Day everybody!

Blessings in Jesus Christ!
Osaka, Japan
P.S. Blessings to all! The notice has been posted! The list of charges against us has been nailed to the cross! Our freedom warrant has been signed with the blood of the Lamb and we bear His seal!
Sorry, the archived discussion moved... the new link is here.

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