While studying the book of Romans, Martin Luther learned that salvation was completely on the basis of faith and not through religious works. On October 31, 1517, in protest of “indulgences” from Pope X to further extract money from the people, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to the chapel door at the University of Wittenberg. Within two weeks, copies of this theses spread throughout Germany, then within months, throughout Europe. When pressured by the Catholic Church to renounce his theses, he refused unless he could be disproved from Scripture. Going further, he renounced the authority of the papacy to interpret Scripture. This stand for truth brought persecution, but Martin Luther persevered because he was a man of principle who would not compromise truth.
The Apostle Paul likewise took a stand for doctrinal truths. When false teachers sought to impose legalism on his converts he said: “…we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Galatians 2:5). Had he not spoken out to prevent these falsehoods from gaining a foothold, the only true message of salvation and millions of eternal souls may have been lost. Later, when Peter came to Antioch, he had already learned from the Lord and Paul that God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27). Peter ate and fellowshipped with Paul’s Gentile converts. But when Jews who still kept the Law came, Peter was influenced to withdraw and separate himself from the company of Gentile converts. The implication was that they did not believe Gentiles were worthy of salvation, and they did not endorse Paul’s Gospel of Grace to all. This was a crucial time when ministry to millions of Gentiles could have been lost. But, referring to Peter, Paul said: “I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11). Paul wasn’t being unloving or difficult. He was taking a stand for “…the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14), so it would not be lost but rather flourish with it’s life giving message.
We who know Christ as Savior today owe much to men like the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther. Had it not been for their stand for truth, we would be still eternally lost. God still needs you to stand for truth in your local assembly and to stand with those who stand for sound doctrine. Will your history read that you stood for truth?
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