“Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their head, through penalties, death, and hell; and thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather through the false security of peace.”Martin Luther
These words close Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. Posted on the church’s door in Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517, these 95 declarations forever changed the direction of Martin Luther’s life, as well as Christianity. He anticipated they would facilitate a peaceful discussion of his disagreement with the Catholic Church and its authorities. However, instead, it leads to his excommunication in 1521.
Like many revolutions, great changes come with massive resistance. The Reformation is no exception. Figures have been given from 50 to 150 million as to the number of martyrs resulting the resistance to this doctrinal correction. When Luther speaks of many tribulations, this is no exaggeration. In meditating on this point, we can be caught up in a reminiscent euphoria over the ideal. But the simple matter of fact is that being a dedicated follower of Christ often means facing trials and tribulation without the triumphant stand we celebrate in Hollywood movies. It rather means, being a godly husband or wife, a father or mother, a hard-working employee, a dedicated servant of the local church; things that may seem more mundane but necessary to the kingdom nonetheless. Selfless sacrifice to the will of Christ, in whatever life circumstances we find ourselves. We are all not Martin Luther. Most of us will have our names erased from world history within one generation of our death. But our service to Christ will be retold forever in the Kingdom.
“So, therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”Luke 14:33