Have you ever been accused of being a militant? Usually a militant calls to mind someone looking for a fight to promote some radical political or social cause. They march in picket lines and hurl inflammatory statements. They draw the battle lines and are not about to surrender to those they see as the enemy. Some even justify terrorism and shootings in the name of their cause.
St. Paul, on the other hand, writes to believers, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18) and “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). Jesus sends us out with the message of peace with God, the peace He won for all mankind by His death on the cross.
We don’t go out looking for a fight, but Jesus warns that the fight will come to us as His followers. The devil, world, and flesh are not about to leave us alone to spread the news of God’s peace through forgiveness in Christ. “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22).
Believers on earth are the church militant. The Reformation of 500 years ago was a hard-fought battle involving on one side, Martin Luther and others who were determined to preach and teach the pure Word of God, and in opposition to them the pope and emperor who were just as determined to maintain the status quo and the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Who won? God won. Through the gospel the Holy Spirit brought many to rejoice in salvation by faith alone without works.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation. But as we do, let’s not forget that the enemies are still out there, and are just as dangerous as ever. May we never let our guard down, but stand firmly on the Word alone, put on the full armor of God, and fight, not with physical force, but with something far more powerful. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Let’s not give up until that day when the church militant becomes the church triumphant in glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Services are at the usual times: 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. Both choir and children will sing in second service.
Choir: 9:10 a.m. Sunday school: 9:30 a.m.
Bible class: 9:45 a.m. Thought-starter for tomorrow: What events in Martin Luther’s life are especially important to you today?
Our area Reformation service is at 3 p.m. at Peace Thru Christ, Middleton.