Contend Earnestly: Why Thesis 1, of the 95 Theses, is the Most Profound

Monday, October 26, 2009

Why Thesis 1, of the 95 Theses, is the Most Profound

The most profound statement ever made outside of Scripture has to be found in the first of the 95 Theses stated by Martin Luther.

Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite (Repent Ye), willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

This first thesis is truly deeper than any thought recorded and has the most impact for any believer for the following reasons:

1. Humility

When one is a repentant man, one has to realize that he is continually wrong. This continual understanding of wrongness, drives the man to humility. Paul said he was the chief of sinners and least of the apostles, showing the lead in how we should understand our sin as it relates to others. We are not above others, but we should see as our least among our brethren. Thesis 1, is truly amazing, because it drives us to humility.

2. Our Problem

When one is constantly in need of repentance, it shows that we are constantly in torment over our sinful state, showing our lack in ourselves. Repentance not only gives one humility, but it shows the utter lack of good within themselves. When one is continually being shown their sin, it shows the truth in God's word that says that "none are good, no not one" and "all our good deeds are like filthy rags." When one lives a life of repentance, it is a life that continually sees their lack, not their fullness in themselves.

3. Our Solution

Notice who says, "Poenitentiam agite." Is it not our Christ? When one lives a life of repentance, they are driven to humility, see their lack of righteousness, but are also driven to understand their need for a Saviour. When one repents, they don't merely turn from sin, but they turn to their Saviour. A life of repentance, is a life that is full, not because of their own goodness, but in the goodness of the One they turn to. A life of repentance is a thankful life that is lived out because of the gift and love of the Saviour to save them from utter despair of realization of a life lived out wickedly.

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:8

“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.
John 17:13

For these three succinct reasons, which many books could and have been written on, I believe that the words of Luther are most profound and ones that came only after a man was caught up in self-righteousness found that,

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:17

This man, realized in himself was a torn up worm who needed to continually repent to see his Christ more clearly. For that, I thank him, but to God alone I give glory.


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