The first thesis
When Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-five Theses to that old church door, he ignited a firestorm. The whole thing was a provocation to reconsider how people get saved. It was a call for change. The Reformation allowed Christians to see God through the clear lenses of grace, faith, and Scripture.
In the first thesis, Luther called out you and me: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
A life of repentance requires us to take stock of who we are. The standard is God’s Word. The illusive element is honesty. Most Christians are comfortable with truth. We do truth nobly, even self-righteously. But few of us are comfortable with honesty. Honesty cuts like a knife. Honesty brings truth to bear in a very disagreeable way. Honesty makes us smite our own chests with the truth and leads us to the apostle Paul’s conclusion, “I am a wretch.”
But repentance doesn’t resolve in self-deprecation. A new person steps up on a regular basis. We lean against the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel. We are inspired by the declaration that turned Luther around: “The just shall live by faith”(Romans 1:17 KJV).With good intentions bonded to faith, we can add daily to what we are. The first thesis of the Christian life is to take hold of Christ’s righteousness and grow in it.
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