A Modern World





A Modern World

Currently, people have access to information through diverse sources. They do not have to depend solely on a single church or church doctrine to guide their Christian life. They have access to biblical texts, and they do not have to go through many years of study so that they can read and understand the bible. People did not have this privilege for a long time. They were denied the chance to know the true knowledge of God and to listen to different biblical interpretations. They had to rely on the word that came from the church authority. The knowledge that people have currently separates them from those who went before them. People have the chance to listen to different interpretations of the word. They have the opportunity to make individual sources and to research on diverse concepts before making their final decision. They have more knowledge concerning the sacred mysteries and biblical teachings and principles.

Modern day people take advantage of the fact that they understand the concept of grace as a necessity in their Christian life. People use grace unknowingly. They do not take the time to think about what it means to have and to be able to use and depend on grace. Grace is a fundamental modern day concept. It is a necessity in the modern church, but this was not the case before the early church reformation. The church taught about grace differently. It emphasized the importance of sacraments, which the priest administered to the people. By receiving the sacraments, the sinner could receive God’s grace and mercy. The sinner also received salvation from eternal death through the grace obtained by the giving of the sacraments.[1] Many church leaders believed these church traditions and beliefs. Erasmus advanced the concept of free will. He posited that it was possible for people to avoid sin by depending on their will.

Martin Luther led the church reforms. He dared to come against and disapprove the church leaders’ legitimacy and teachings. He taught the people that they could receive grace from God freely. The people did not have to depend on the priests or the sacraments to get grace.[2] Luther used this belief to admonish Erasmus. He told him that a person could not know what free will is if he does not know the ability of his will or the actions and foreknowledge of God.[3] Luther adds that salvation is up to God’s will, and it is not based on man’s free will. God takes people’s salvation under His own control according to His grace and mercy. People do not have to work to achieve salvation.

The desire and need to reform the church led to many changes in the church traditions and beliefs. In the sixth session, the council of the Trent posited that it is necessary for people to have the knowledge of salvation if they are to benefit from it even though Jesus Christ died for the salvation of all. The council further asserted that people are made just through the grace of God.[4] The synod noted that it was not possible for people to depend on free will without the existence and presence of God’s grace in their lives. They added that people could not receive justice based on their own free will. Grace works within men, and it transforms them and makes them new creatures.

The concept of grace is noteworthy because it changed the church ideals and role within the society. The church depended on its position to save people’s souls and to redeem them. People believed that they could only receive the salvation they needed by being right with the church. This gave the early church a lot of power. It used this power and influence to control decision-making and contribute towards ruling. When Martin Luther led the reforms and advanced the concept of free grace, the church lost most of the influence it had. Those who believed in the reforms no longer depended on the church for their salvation because they had learnt that they could receive grace freely. Knowledge of grace and salvation led to considerable church reformations. The people rebelled, and they no longer accepted the church weaknesses. People learnt that they were justified by accepting God’s divine grace that was unconditional. People were not bound to sin. Therefore, it was not necessary for them to continue receiving the sacrament of penance that was to sanctify them and make them right before God.

The church reformation enabled the reformers to take the scriptures to the people. The reformers used the bible as the sole scriptural authority. They made it possible for people to read and discuss the scriptures amongst themselves. They did not have to depend on the church theologians in order to interpret the word for them. The clergy ceased to be the representative of God to the people, and the people no longer saw the need for intermediaries. Knowledge of grace made it possible for them to have a relationship with God and they became similar to the priests.[5]

Works Cited

Luther, Martin and John Dillenberger. Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings. New York: Anchor Books, 1962. Print

Thackeray, W. Frank and John, E. Findling. Events That Formed the Modern World. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print

Waterworth, J. The Council of Trent the Sixth Session: The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Oecumenical Council of Trent. London: Dolman, 1848. Print

[1]. See Thackeray and Findling especially page 252 for more information on the church reforms

[2]. Ibid.

[3]. As recorded on Martin Luther and John Dillenberger text, Martin Luther : Selections From His Writings

[4]. Notes from Waterworth, J, The Council of Trent the Sixth Session: The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent 32

[5]. See Thackeray and Findling, Events That Formed the Modern World 252-253

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