The Bible tells us of good King Josiah in the waning days of the kingdom of Judah. He has been called the Martin Luther of the Old Testament. He got rid of the idols in the land and restored the worship of the one, true God.
Somewhere amid all the remodeling, scrubbing and dusting, Hilkiah the High Priest makes an announcement: “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord!”
Imagine! They had lost the Bible! Shaphan the secretary reads it to King Josiah. When Josiah hears it, he causes everyone else to hear it also. And on the basis of this book, on the basis of God’s Word, Josiah brings about a great reformation in the land of Judah.
Some 500 years ago, in the Lutheran Reformation, God raised up a reformer, Martin Luther, to restore the central teaching of the Bible – that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ. All over Europe and then to the new world, the word went forth that the righteous shall live by faith in Him who died and rose again for them. The Bible was translated into the language of the people and people read it.
But it is also true that after Luther’s death, the Bible was again encrusted with a series of assaults over the years: dead orthodoxy, an inward looking pietism, an antichristian rationalism, evolutionism, humanism and the list goes on. Many of the great churches of Germany and other parts of Europe today are not buildings where people actively, regularly worship or where the Word of God is purely preached. They are state-supported museums where God’s Book is all but lost and countless souls are functional atheists.
In our own nation today, we have witnessed the tragedy of Luther’s name inscribed over the doors of churches which deny virtually everything he taught and stood for.
It helps us to understand Luther’s remark about the gospel being a “fahrender Platzregen” – a passing thundershower – raining on one spot – and then, unappreciated – moving on to the next place.
Nothing has changed. Never before have there been so many copies of the Bible in print. You can download the Bible in any language over the internet.
But if we ignore it, neglect it, deny it, replace it with something trendier, or fail to believe what it says – then we will have lost the Book – and our Savior.
Every reformation begins when, as in the days of King Josiah of Judah, a single soul says: “I know My guilt is paid for by Christ, because, by God’s grace – His undeserved love, I have found the Book! Truth has scattered the doubts that tormented me, because I have found the Book! Confusion over pure doctrine vs. false doctrine no longer darkens my mind, because I have found the Book! I have torn down my altars to materialism, immorality, and drunkenness and cast them into the fire, because I have found the Book! I treasure my baptism into Christ and hunger for His holy supper because I have found the Book! I am no longer afraid of death because I have found the Book! I know My Savior – what He has done for me, the heaven He has prepared for me, because I have found the Book! What I lost, what I forgot, what I ignored…I got back when, by God’s grace, I found the Book!”