Making All Things New: The Lifestyle
by David Powlison"What was the first trumpet call of the Reformation?
"It was not the authority of scripture, foundational as that is. Scripture is the very voice, face, and revelation of God. A Person presses through the pages. You learn how He thinks. How He acts. Who He is. What He's up to. But "Scripture alone" did not stand first in line.
"It was not justification by faith alone, crucial as that is. We are oily-rag people. Christ is the garden of light. We are saved by His doing, His dying, His goodness. We are saved from ourselves outside of ourselves. No religious hocus-pocus. No climbing up a ladder of good works, or religious knowledge, or mystical experience. He came down, full of grace and truth, Word made flesh, Lamb of God. We receive. That's crucial. But "faith alone" wasn't actually where it all started.
"It was not the priesthood of all believers, revolutionary as that is. Imagine, there aren't two classes of people, the religious people who do holy things by a special call from God, and the masses of laity toiling in the slums of secular reality. The "man of God" is not doing God's show before an audience of bystanders. We all assemble as God's people, doing the work and worshiping together, with differing gifts. The one Lord, our common King and attentive audience, powerfully enables faith and love. Yes and amen, but this radical revision of church didn't come first.
The trumpet call, Thesis Number One of Luther's Ninety-five Theses, was this:
"When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent,' He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."
"That first of Luther's theses dismantled all the machinery of religiosity and called us back to human reality. Luther glimpsed and aimed to recover the essential inner dynamic of the Christian life. It is an ongoing change process. It involves a continual turning motion, turning toward God, and turning away from the riot of other voices, other desires, other loves. We tend to use the word repentance in its more narrow sense, for decisive moments of realization, conviction, confession, turning. But Luther uses the word in its wider, more inclusive sense. If we are living in Christ, we are living from-to.
"John Calvin put it in a similar way: "This restoration does not take place in one moment or one day or one year... In order that believers may reach this goal (the shining image of God), God assigns to them a race of repentance, which they are to run throughout their lives." The entire Christian life (including the more specific moments) follows a pattern of turning from things and turning to the Lord...
"Lifelong, progressive sanctification was the trumpet call back to biblical faith."