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Christians had reason to celebrate on Tuesday

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Many Christians refuse to take part in Halloween festivities, due to the ancient association of the date with the occult.

But the little kids coming to my door on Tuesday night saying “Trick or Treat,” weren’t worshipping the devil. As a Christian, I want to show kindness and love to these precious little ones. Therefore, I encourage believers to use Halloween to love their neighbors by greeting these kids and their parents with warmth, engaging in conversation, and being generous with candy.

Keeping your light out and your door closed is a missed opportunity to love people.

But for Christians, Oct. 31 is incredibly significant for another reason. On Oct. 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This event launched the Reformation of the church.

This Reformation Day was especially significant, because it was the 500th anniversary of Luther’s action.

Traditionally, the Reformation is known for splitting Christendom into the categories of Protestant and Catholic. But that was really not Luther’s intention.

Luther simply saw the church getting away from the Bible, and he wanted it to experience “reform.” And no matter what wing of the Christian church you belong to, you should be thankful for what the Reformation accomplished.

Let me make this personal. On Tuesday morning, I got up and read my Bible in a language I could understand. I happened to be reading the book of Hebrews, as part of the One-Year Bible reading plan.

I was blown away by the beauty and power of God’s Word! The most amazing things happen when you simply pick up your Bible and read it.

But do you realize that your ability to pick up your Bible and read it for yourself is a direct result of the Reformation? That alone is reason enough to be thankful for it.

We should actually be thankful for much more that came from it. Here are the five core principles of the Reformation:

Scripture alone: Our ultimate authority as Christians is the Word of God, the Scripture. When we face any issue, we must ask this question: “What does Scripture teach?”

Grace alone: Our salvation comes from nothing other than God’s amazing grace in Christ.

Faith alone: We are saved not by a mixture of faith plus works, but by relying completely on Christ’s finished work for us in dying for our sins and rising from the dead. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.”

Therefore, the good works we are called to do as Christians are not the root of our faith, but the fruit of our faith.

 

Christ alone: Our salvation comes from none other than Jesus Christ. He is not a way to be saved. He is the way to be saved. As Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

The glory of God alone: God has saved us by his grace. We are to live our lives for his glory, and for his glory alone.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.