Were you ever in reform school? If you were, you probably don’t want to admit it. Reform schools were for juvenile delinquents … underage criminals who did not belong in the adult prison environment. Reform schools were for bad kids … not “good” kids, like us. But, truth is, we all belong in reform school.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12)
Martin Luther became aware of his sinfulness and his need for personal reform. He made great effort to bring about reform in his life through piety and discipline as a monk, but he could find no peace or satisfaction. The Church of Luther’s day promoted personal reform through penance and indulgences. Here again, Luther found no peace or satisfaction. Instead, he found greed and abuse, leaving people with little or no consolation.
The only place Luther could find peace and satisfaction was in the promise of the righteousness of God being given as a free gift to sinful human beings by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 3: 21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). Since the church was not offering this promise to its people, Luther, and others, saw the need for reform, and started the movement we now call the Reformation. (We will celebrate Reformation Day at the end of this month).
In our Sunday morning Bible class we have been watching the series, The Chosen. Several characters in this series have emphasized that they are ongoing students, learning from the Master, (Jesus/God).
We, too, are ongoing students of the Master. We are in an ongoing process of reformation as bap-tized children of God. We are in “reform school,” if you will, and we should not be ashamed to admit it. This school is not for the “good” kids. It’s for the “delinquents,” of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15)
This school accepts all delinquents, free of charge. The price has been paid by the Teacher, Jesus. In His suffering, death and resurrection, He has brought us forgiveness, eternal life, salvation, and His righteousness. Because of His undeserved love for us (grace), we have been chosen and set apart (reformed).
Share your experience in reform school with others, and let them know there is room here for them, too!
Pastor Brian Truog