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“CONFIDENCE OF CONVICTIONS”…..

Everybody has opinions. Some have philosophies they espouse.   And, there are those stalwarts that have true convictions.  Convictions are those things which form our world view, compels our actions, limits what we accept as truth, and rivets us to whatever it is that we truly believe is worth dying to achieve and to defend.  For the radical Muslim, it is to establish a Caliphate.  For the Amish, it is to live as if it were still the 17th or 18th century and never move from coal oil and horse and wagon. For the politician, it is to do whatever is necessary to be elected to a level of leadership. For the true Christ-follower, it is to live one’s faith in such a way that others are drawn to know Christ because of our actions.

Various folks have left us “thoughts” about their personal definition of “conviction”…..

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
(Winston S. Churchill).

He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.

(Louisa May Alcott).

Now the true soldiers of Christ must always be prepared to do battle for the truth, and must never, so far as lies with them, allow false convictions to creep in.  (Origen).

The most important figure of the Reformation was a monk by the name of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther was a man full of self-doubt, guilt, and worry. In his early 20s, Martin Luther was nearly struck by lightning while crossing an open field during a storm, which led to his vow to become a monk. As a young monk, the corruption of the church, the debauchery of priests, and the power of the Pope disturbed him, disgusted him, and depressed him. 

He did everything possible to appease his anguished soul: from climbing the 28 stairs of the famous Scala Sancta to going to regular confession, but for all the vigils and fasts and penances, he still felt empty, accursed, and worse.  (http://history.idbsu.edu/westciv/reformat/luther01.htm)

Why did he not experience the assurance of salvation? Why did he still feel so rotten in spite of all efforts to please God? Why was his soul at war and peace so elusive?

The dramatic turning-point of Luther’s life occurred when he was sitting alone in his study at Wittenberg. His eyes fell on a passage from the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. It says: “the just shall live by his faith.” He couldn’t believe his eyes, he couldn’t contain himself, or keep to himself the simplicity of God’s ageless path of salvation: faith in God.

That discovery changed the course of the church, the course of Western civilization, and the course of history. So on October 31, 1517 Luther nailed his famous Ninety-five Theses onto the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, 60 miles from Berlin that resulted in his excommunication from the church, the start of the Reformation, and the division between the Protestant and the Catholic church. (Copied).