Acts chapter 12 tells a wonderful story. John Stott puts it this way: The chapter opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing; it closes with Herod dead, Peter free and the word of God triumphing. Such is the power of God to overthrow hostile human plans and to establish his own in there place. Tyrants may be permitted for a time to boast and bluster, oppressing the church and hindering the spread of the gospel, but they will not last. In the end, their empire will be broken and their pride abased.
This weekend we remember that the story of the Gospel is a story of triumph. The triumph of life over death, righteousness over sin, our Savior over Satan, and, in particular, the life giving freedom of the Gospel over institutional religion. Such was the case 500+ years ago when Martin Luther, looking for academic debate, nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Church door. He could never have imagined what would be unleashed in the coming years, what it would cost him, but also the joy that would come his way. Ultimately Luther’s story is another chapter in the triumph of the God’s story.
And we too are in that in story, sustained by the Spirit of Christ. We will turn our attention to this life giving truth as we climb back into Romans 8:9-11. We often focus on Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Christus, Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria when we think of the Reformation; but let us not forget Solus Spiritus, a cry for all who belong to Christ.