Lucas Cranach was a court painter in Wittenberg and a great friend of Martin Luther. He painted the ubiquitous portrait of the great man.
Lucas was a keen supporter of Luther and of the changes Luther called for in the Church. We, are remembering this year that Luther nailed his colours to the door of All Saints Church, though history informs us particularly, that he sent a letter (containing the 95 Theses) to the Archbishop of Mainz. So began the Reformation.
History details how Luther was part of a devolution of Church power that made it possible for local and national peoples to lead their own church. This was very convenient for the eighth Harry! Since then, reformed churches have continued to devolve, split and multiply.
What really counts, though, is the simple Gospel Truths that Luther homed in on. He saw that his attempts at earning or securing salvation through personal effort were futile. More than that, he saw such activity as dishonouring to the Lord Jesus Christ and the work he finished at His Cross and Resurrection. So, not denying the importance of good works done through faith in God, he proclaimed “Sole Fide”. Faith alone, in Christ, saves us and secures us. He went on to show that being “rightwise” with God must be a gift. There is no other way a human can achieve such status. And, after all, that is what we read in the Scriptures:
Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.