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Continuing the Reformation Also Includes Loving Your Enemies

It's the 500th year of the Reformation and maybe one thing to emphasize is love for one's enemies. This can be a very touchy subject because of the issue of pride. The Reformation's history has been met with so much persecution. When the Reformation came then so did the Counter-Reformation. The Inquisition tried to stop the Reformation. Ignatius of Loyola established the Jesuit Order as part of the Counter-Reformation. It's a huge battle for the truth. To try and stop the Protestant Reformation meant that the Roman Catholic institution used bloody means to try and stop it. Yet, the true Christians always remained firm in their quest to love their enemies.

Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36 is the very pages of Scripture. It's the very words of Jesus. What's the use of defending the truth of Sola Scriptura if the one defending it has some bitterness? The message of the Gospel is forgiveness. If you read through the pages of the history of Christianity and not just the Reformation is forgiveness. Stephen in Acts 7:54-60 didn't hold the sin against his persecutors. The early Christian church was so hit by persecution yet the Christians accepted it. They preached the Gospel and preached it. They lived out the teaching of Jesus to love their enemies and to be kind to the unkind and to be just to the unjust.

Paul even wrote to the believers in Rome in Romans 12:17-20 not to take revenge but to love their enemies. If you consider the situation, it would have been the reign of that tyrant Emperor Nero. The persecution was getting hot. Nero himself was a known persecutor yet Paul wrote to the believers in Rome to love one's enemies. What could have happened in Rome to also cause Christianity to multiply is that God's grace and the Holy Spirit brings forth a forgiving spirit. You could see the Christians getting the worst tortures yet they forgave even those who inflicted such irreparable damage to their bodies. Christians who kept offering forgiveness while standing by the truth of the Gospel would have been sufficient reasoning to why Christianity grew in the midst of persecution.

I could also think of the Inquisition and the Christians who were martyred by it. I read of some testimonies of some of the victims of the Inquisition. One of the most unbelievable things that happened is that the Christians under the Inquisition forgave their Inquisitors. They would not change their positions because they could not change their positions. They didn't plan to return blood for blood against the Roman Catholic institution. Instead, it was a spirit of forgiveness that also kept the Reformation going. If Christians took revenge by burning Roman Catholics alive for the late William Tyndale then the Reformation would have ended so easily. Instead, the Reformers kept a spirit of forgiveness by the grace of God. The Inquisition is a weapon of revenge. The Reformation is a machine that returned evil with good and forgave its enemies. The Inquisition fought fire with fire but the Reformation fought fire with water.

What loving one's enemies is also telling them the truth of the Gospel out of concern for the soul of one's enemy. The Reformation would have failed also if they didn't love their enemies enough to tell them the truth. It's possible to tell the truth without loving but loving can never be complete without telling the truth. The Reformers love people so much that they went soulwinning like the pre-Reformation Christians before them. They kept the legacy alive that they love people enough to share the Gospel. The Gospel's message will make no sense if there's no love for one's enemies. Just think didn't Jesus' death on the cross meant to establish reconciliation between God and man? Man has become God's enemy (James 4:14) and must be reconciled to God by the free gift of salvation. This is the truth about loving one's enemies will always be essential to continuing the Reformation.

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