Frederick the Pious at the Diet of Augsburg in reference to the Heidelberg Catechism
“Your Imperial Majesty, I continue in the conviction which I made known to you before I came here in person, that in matters of faith and conscience I acknowledge only one Lord who is Lord of all lords, and King of all kings. That is why I say that this is not a matter of the flesh, but of man’s soul and its salvation which I have received from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His truth I am duty bound to guard. As regards Calvinism, I can say with God and my Christian conscience as witnesses, that I have not read the books of Calvin, so that I can little say what is meant by Calvinism. But what my catechism teaches, this I profess. This catechism has on its pages such abundant proof from Holy Scripture that it will remain unrefuted by men and will also remain my irrefutable belief.
Exploring our history I’ve been reading the book ‘Three Men Came to Heidelberg and Glorious Heretic: The Story of Guido de Bres’. Sometimes I think we(myself included) really take for granite the fact that we can even read God’s Word today.
I think about all the men, women and children that were martyred for simply believing that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law (Rom 3:28) and that our salvation lies in no one else but Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
This debate continues today. Who saves? Did Christ’s one offering perfect for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14)? or is it Christ work + mans works ?
I am under anathema according to the Roman Catholic Church for the statement above. There was a time when making such statements would have put my life in danger. We use the term anathema, and heretic today without really thinking what these terms mean. We don’t think about all the men, women, and children that were martyred (and the many today who are still being martyred) for His name sake.
It is my prayer that today we recognize and thank God that we live in a country that at least for now, we are free to read our Bibles and express our faith (for the most part) without fear of imprisonment or death. There will be a time where like in China and other countries we wont be allowed to own a bible and to proclaim His name (like in Islamic countries) will once again put our very lives in danger.
I am thankful for the men and women of the reformation that God raised up to stand up against the tyranny of those who sought to suppress the truth and stood firm risking their lives, and many times giving their lives for the Gospel.
Ephesians 2:8-10 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.