I recently had the privilege of being at the summer Youth Camp that my friend Jason Storms puts on. In the midst of my busyness at Wheaton, it was a chance to get a lot of necessary reading and quiet time in, as well as an opportunity to be around some of my best friends on earth. The theme of this year’s camp couldn’t have been better:
Here I Stand!
We sand the song “Stand Up for Jesus” at every session, and had some nice accompanying t-shirts made for-us (I’ll discuss that later); but that theme originated, obviously, from the immortal words of Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms when he stood on the truths of Jesus Christ against the entire world of organized religion. But therein came the disturbance: we watched the biofilm Luther together one evening, and when that famous line was used, the entire room (almost) burst out in unified surprise that he used the theme of our camp (here I stand) in his speech.
And that was the disturbing thing. Those words are part of the root of one of the greatest works of God in human history, and ignorance of them points to our greater ignorance of the Reformation. You might remember a post I wrote along similar lines several months ago: and I don’t push the issue because I think we need to deify massively flawed men such as Luther, Beza, Calvin, Knox, or even their theological grandfather Augustine, but we need to recognize the wisdom of such words as “Those who do not remember history are destined to repeat it.” We desperately need to remember and recognize that for which men were willing to give their lives rather than embracing the idols of their day.
We don’t want to be good little Luthers and Knoxes; but it is imperative upon us to build on the foundation they laid five hundred years ago, standing upon the truths of the Majesty and sovereignty of God in salvation, man’s utter lack of goodness apart from the cleansing blood of Christ and His beautifying righteousness being imputed to us. We want to remember the Reformation because History is God’s story, the Church is God’s church, and we cannot afford to lightly handle the privilege we have of being members of that body, part of the that Bride, children of that family, which is our heavenly Father’s.
This is especially true of us as young people. Generation upon generation, we are called to be Luthers, to stand upon the truth of God against the idols of our age, even within the Church, no matter what the cost. Unfortunately, if I use myself as the gauge, we are closer to switching sides so that we might save ourselves from harm, than to standing. And this we do in two ways:
First, We go over to the worlds way of thinking, and seek self-satisfaction in the little choices we make on a day to day basis. But when I say we are to be Luthers, I don’t mean setting out to stand against a persecuting world on huge matters of doctrine. We all want to do that. But to truly imitate Luther as He imitated Christ, we must say, “Here I stand” with our every waking breath, from our downsitting and our uprising, against Satan’s temptations, which are frequent, from the world’s allurements, which surround us, and from self’s demands, which are constant. Every choice we make is a choice either to die to self and live to Christ, or to die to Christ and live to self. To be Luther, we must say,
“Here I stand. I can do no other, God help me.” When Self says to run from being with and fellowshipping with God because there is no way we will be accepted as sons this time;
“Here I stand” when the world puts it’s little petty distractions from its movies and music in our hearts, and they knock on the door of the mind when we pray, when we work, as we live.
“Here I stand” when we wan to minister, or try to plan our lives, in a worry-filled, man-centred way rather than a faith-filled, God-ward way.
“Here I stand” when Self demands its way in our relationships, and we’re tempted to be stupid and wreck our emotions and other’s by our longing for immediate gratification.
“Here I stand,” when the Wal-Mart checkout stands say that a second glance won’t hurt,though we now that what we see will recall itself to our hearts when we know it shouldn’t be there.
And a host of other instances, where we have a choice between the golden halls of communion with the Triune God, which faith sees, versus the brass-plated rubbish heap which is apprehended by straying eyes and untamed emotions.We as young people, and we as adopted children smear the name of our Christ by our constant surrender rather than our stand. Our Lord is acquainted with our trails, for on all fronts He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, so that we may well say, “God help me.”
Secondly, we give way in that we know of Doctrinal error, we know of foolishness, we know of sin, of lostness, but rather than being like our Lord, who stood on His Father’s word and turned over tables, and stood between the stones and the adulteress, telling her to sin no more, we stand side and allow the church around to decline without our pleadings that she return. If we are the watchmen of Ezekiel 33, then surely the blood of many around us will be required at our hands if we do not sound the trumpet because we were content in our own righteousness, not remembering that all we are is of grace.
But it isn’t enough to identify problems: we must lay a foundation of truth on which build and with which to motivate ourselves, in order to run the race toward the prize and fight for the Kingdom as our Fathers have. With this in mind, I hope over the next several post to lay groundwork in our my heart and the hearts of readers drawing from the famous five points, the five Solas, of the Reformation:
Sola Deo Gloria
Succinctly, then, those five points can be summarized as by the Scriptures alone we obtain faith which alone lays hold of grace alone by which we are saved, flowing from Christ alone and all the Glory to God: Sola Deo Gloria, may that be the result of this writing.