image: Lucas Cranach the Younger, ‘Martin Luther Preaching,’ 1547
We are upon the 500th year anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. October 31st, 1517 Martin Luther posted a list of 95 points for debate. In thesis #62 Luther wrote: “The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.”
This Gospel of which he spoke was the “true treasure” then and it still is. If you want your life to be full of treasure, then you must fill it with the “true treasure.” If you want your life to show, to display, to speak to what is best and good and right and wonderful, then you can do no better than to be filled up with joy in the “true treasure” of the “Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.”
Tell me more.
Christianity isn’t really a religion. To that you will hear many say, “It’s a relationship.” No doubt, but it’s much more. Christianity isn’t just about “Jesus and me.” And neither is Christianity just about getting free passage to a blessed after-life.
It’s not fire insurance. It’s not a religion. It’s far more than a relationship. It’s a new reality.
Christianity holds the Good News that in Christ reality is flipped upside down, turned inside out and flooded with God’s grace such that the cosmos will never be the same. Christianity is not merely about gathering information concerning this Good News. Christianity is also about announcing and living in this Good News. At the center of this Good News is Christ. At the center of Christianity is Christ. There, in that center, Christ, is the lode mine of that “true treasure.”
As in Cranach’s painting, an art piece meant to clarion loudly, we see the Christ hovering in the center of Martin’s sermonizing. The Christ is transfixed in the midst of his people and the pulpit. He is in the center. That’s where he belongs. Really?
C. S. Lewis wrote that…
“The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.“
Gloria Furman, author of Alive In Him, in her TGC talk about Ephesians asks us, “Have you seen the show?” What show? The cosmic display of God’s glory by his grace in the face of Jesus Christ. Paul says it this way: …that in all things he [Christ] might have the preeminence. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (see Col 1:18-20).
Christocentricity is not some option open to us among other options as a Christian. Christocentricity is what it means to come into the very core of the “true treasure” of the Church, of the Father and the Spirit with the Son, of the cosmos being set aright by him who made, of the Bible rightly considered, of life lived in all goodness.
Henry Scougal in his book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, observes that “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” There is no greater object or subject than Christ who leads us into the love of the Father, the joy of the Spirit.
“In Christ are treasures that will require digging to the end of the world,” wrote Thomas Goodwin.
It’s true. It’s true treasure. It’s found in Christocentricity. He is the treasure. Enjoy.