The Day a Nail Caught the World on Fire

Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Solus Christus Soli Deo Gloria

On October 31st, 1517, one of the most important events in the history of the world took place in an obscure German town called Wittenberg by a single monk named Martin Luther.

It wasn’t much, just the usual custom of nailing a list of grievances to the church door, a rather common practice, but, because of what it set in motion, it would mark the beginning of the modern age for the Western world and began the protracted process of freeing mankind from its entrenched and despotic institutions, in a bold declaration that no man is subject to the whims of kings and priests but that all mankind everywhere are but sovereign individuals, all equal and all alike; all equal as dependent creatures; all alike in the leveling act of sin; all without exception under the same law; prince and peasant alike will stand before the same God.

Therefore, we are answerable to none but that God and the conscience given unto by our God; we serve only God and no man. This sentiment would be echoed in every act of mankind’s reclaiming of natural liberty for the next half millennium, declaring that governments are servants and nothing more.

This spark became a fire of freedom that still burns to this day. Luther was a man that acted boldly for the simple fact that he felt it was more dangerous to break his conscience than an order. He said once that when he considered God it felt as if he was the only human being that existed. What he meant by that was that, because God was so absolute and so perfect, that even if there were only sinner who ever existed in the history of mankind, Christ would still have had to die for that one in the substitutionary way He died, to bring that one sinner to God. So, even though Christ died for His church, all without exception, it was the same as Him dying for each individual member of His church, none excepting.

And Luther, as we should also, lived as a man that knew he was answerable to God in the same way that we are all answerable to God; ourselves alone. There is no Mediator between God and man but the one Man whom God Himself has appointed. And it was for that that reason, Luther lived per the safe structure of FAITH ALONE, GRACE ALONE, SCRIPTURE ALONE, CHRIST ALONE. For, in the end, he knew, we will all face God in one of two ways; alone or with Christ.

It’s a sobering thought and one that changed the world just as it still changes the single soul. Luther operated the way he did because he could see everyone as one but, at the same time, could see one as though they were everyone. We would do well to consider the same.

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