John Piper lists 5 things to celebrate on Reformation Day   

John Piper
John Piper | Rocket Republic /Flicker

Theologian and author John Piper recently laid out five reasons to celebrate Reformation Day, which is the anniversary of when Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation.

On Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed 95 theses on a church door in Wittenberg as a way to protest corrupt practices and some theological stances made by the Roman Catholic Church.

In Monday's episode of the podcast “Ask Pastor John,” Piper was asked what people should celebrate when observing the anniversary of the Reformation.

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Piper first pointed to what Reformation Day is celebrating “ultimately,” which would be “the glory of Jesus Christ,” with the Bible teacher quoting notable Reformer John Calvin.

“In Calvin’s response to the Roman Catholic Sadoleto, he said, ‘You … touch upon justification by faith, the first and keenest subject of controversy between us … Wherever the knowledge of it is taken away, the glory of Christ is extinguished,’” said Piper.

“I think the same point could be made on issue after issue in the disputes of the Reformation. So ultimately, we celebrate the exaltation of the glory of Christ.”

Second, Piper noted that what Reformation Day celebrates “foundationally” would be “the free and sovereign grace of God,” noting that Luther “regarded the issue of human autonomy versus sovereign grace as the key underlying issue of the Reformation.”

“As long as someone insists on ultimate human self-determination, they fail to grasp the depth of our need, and they obscure the greatness of the free and sovereign grace of God, which alone can give life and faith,” Piper noted.

The third part of the celebration of Reformation Day, according to Piper, was to celebrate “the greatest achievement of God,” which was “the decisive achievement of the cross of Christ in providing peace with God for guilty sinners.”

Piper referenced Hebrews 7:27, which reads that Christ “does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when he offered himself.”

“I will be celebrating that the finished and complete work of Christ — in providing imputed punishment for our sins and imputed perfection for our righteousness — was once for all and cannot be reenacted in the Roman Catholic mass so as to become a necessary point of transfer of that decisive grace,” said Piper.

The fourth thing to be celebrated on Reformation Day, according to Piper, was “the inspired word of God in Scripture,” noting how the Reformation made the Bible available in everyday language.

“I will be celebrating the personal preciousness and access to the Word of God for my daily means of enjoying personal fellowship with my Father in heaven,” explained Piper.

Finally, Piper noted that he will be “celebrating the truth that faith — acted directly on Christ through His Word, not mediated by priestly sacraments — is the decisive, primary way I enjoy what Christ purchased and what the Word makes possible.”

Piper referenced Ephesians 3:16-17, which reads in part, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

“This is a prayer for Christians,” he said. “He’s praying for Christians who already have Christ. This is a prayer for real, authentic experience of the living Christ.”

“When I embrace the crucified and risen Christ as my supreme treasure — alive, present, at home in me — that very faith, that embrace, that faith is the sufficient instrument for the enjoyment of his fellowship. That will be my primary, daily celebration.”

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