500 Years of Freedom {Through Grace}

500 years of freedom through grace
For it is by grace
you have been saved, 
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, 
so that no one can boast.~Romans 1:17 NIV

I love candy and I loved dressing up as a kid so, Halloween was one of my favorite days on the calendar. Some of my fondest memories were the costumes mom made for my sister Lori and me.  I’ll never forget my Raggedy Ann outfit. The wig had single stands of red yarn glued on to different lengths that must’ve taken mom hours to make.

Raggedy Ann

It’s hard to imagine this time of year was celebrated so differently in the past. Traditionally, Christians have celebrated martyrs and Saints on November 1st. Through the ages it’s been called All Hallows, or All Saints Day.  Some believers still take this time to honor the lives of Christians who have gone on to glory or in some denominations, they celebrate those deemed as Saints…with a capital ‘S’.1

500 Years of Freedom {Through Grace}

Martin Luther500 years ago, on October 31, 1517 what the people at the time called All Hallow’s Eve; a thirty-three year old German monk named Martin Luther made the boldest move of his life, inspired by the most fearful time of his life.

While studying Law in University, Martin walked home during a thunderstorm.  It was one of those scare-the-life-right-out-of-you, make-a-deal-with-God times where Luther promised God if He got him out alive, he would become a monk. After this event Luther became obsessed with making sure he would go to heaven when he died.

Sadly, the traditions of the church during Luther’s time taught a works based salvation. They talked about the need to put your faith in Christ but then there came along with that faith a whole catalogue of rules to follow.  The list was so long that it seemed impossible to ever be good enough for God. They were adding to the Bible, making more hoops for people to jump through for salvation.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the church had become corrupt and was preying on the fears of Christians to make money. Believers who wanted to be assured that their family members made it out of purgatory and into heaven could pay money to the Priests for something they called ‘Indulgences’…essentially, you could pay for salvation.  Oh, how I wish history didn’t repeat itself but unfortunately I see these same patterns at work today.2

Martin Luther wanted so desperately to be assured of his salvation that he was known to spend a great deal of time in the confessional booth…sadly, never feeling forgiven.  Luther even slept in the snow as a form of penance.3 One night while struggling with the fear of not being good enough for God Martin read Romans 1:17 and it changed his life…it changed mine…I hope it’s changed yours too!

Romans 1:17

Every light bulb over Luther’s head came on and he understood for the first time that,

God offered salvation by grace…not by works!

He began to see the Scriptures in a new light and realized his salvation was sure; not because he was good enough but because of the work of Jesus on the cross and the grace being given to him through faith in Christ…simple faith.

95 thesesMartin Luther couldn’t keep this discovery to himself.  He had to let others know the freedom in Christ he’d found so, on that fateful All Hallow’s Eve, Martin walked up to the University Chapel in Wittenberg, Germany and nailed what’s famously called The 95 Theses to the front door.4,5 500 years ago, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses started what’s known as the Protestant Reformation. A document he’d written outlining the wrongful teachings of the church and how salvation is a work of grace.  A bold move that almost cost him his life!

History reveals that human nature always reverts back to following a list of rules if people don’t continue to be led by the spirit of God.  I believe that the millennial generation is going through a reformation of their own.  They aren’t satisfied to stay in churches that enforce a ‘Christian Rulebook’.  They want authentic faith…and so do I.  Some may see them as living loose, but I’m starting to see how many are just ‘living free, loving Jesus’…like Luther did.

My faith in 2017 Quote

My faith in 2017 is a direct result of Luther’s courageous move 500 years ago.  I’m amazed when I think about that and I ask myself:

What bold move can I make that will leave a legacy of faith for generations to follow?

I hope you ask yourself that too!


Father…I’m so thankful for my salvation through your grace. It’s something I don’t deserve, but a gift I gladly receive.  I’m also thankful for people of faith like Martin Luther who lived a bold life for You.  Help me to break free from the bondage of following rules instead of following You. Let the truth of your grace inspire me to live courageously, leading others to You.  In Jesus Name…Amen

If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women. 

#Dare2Share Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

Drawing From The Well - Brown and Blue

  1. Romans 1:17
  2. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
  3. Habakkuk 2:4
  4. Galatians 3:11

MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis, Soul Survival – Donna Reidland,
TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley GerthWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. MeadGrace and Truth Linkup – Arabah JoyCounting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell ELLEN’S PICKS– Ellen Graf-Martin

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints%27_Day Website Accessed:  2017-10-29
  2. https://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283 Website Accessed: 2017-10-22
  3. https://www.pbs.org/empires/martinluther/monk_penance.html Website Accessed: 2017-10-29
  4. https://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html Website Accessed: 2017-10-22
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninety-five_Theses Website Accessed:  2017-10-22 


  1. Michele Morin says

    This wonderful history and application makes me wish I had put together a Reformation post as well! Thanks for being responsive to the culture and to the season.

    I clicked on the Ellen Graf-Martin link you shared above because I heard her on a podcast recently. Loved her energy and vision. Is her link-up just a “all hands on deck” affair, or is it by invitation only?

    • Sherry Stahl says

      It’s not too late to make a post on the reformation. It really is amazing to think that it’s been 500 years! It will be amazing to meet Martin Luther in heaven and talk to him about it. I’m so thankful for his courage. We can’t imagine the pressure he would have had to face. Ellen’s linkup is by invitation only. She has chosen 50 Canadian women in Christian leadership/ministry across the nation and formed the group to help us reach our destinies in return for reviewing books and sharing on some form of social media which the other girls aren’t always the best at doing 🙂 but many share about the books at their churches where they pastor or on tv where they’re hosts… The Ellen’s Picks girls aren’t all bloggers. If you were Canadian you would be a perfect fit 🙂
      Praying you’re blessed today!

  2. Liz says

    Oh, Sherry! Love this. I was raised Catholic, then spent many years searching for what faith meant to me in my late teens and early 20s. Then I met my husband who is Lutheran. Studying this denomination was so freeing. I converted before we were married and was confirmed in a dusty tent in Balad, Iraq. As I’ve become more active in faith based communities, however, I’ve discovered that some people still think Catholics are the same as in the 16th Century. Some even think Catholics aren’t Christians. And that breaks my heart, as my sweet Mama is still Catholic. All denominations have their difficulties, that’s why we have to be sure we’re aligned with Jesus through His Word first! Blessings to you my sweet friend! XO

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Oh Liz, I hope you don’t think I’m one of those people who don’t think Catholics are Christian. I have many wonderful Catholic friends who have such beautiful relationships with Christ. I didn’t mention the Catholic church in the post because sadly these patterns happen in every denomination. I’m Canadian Pentecostal (as sister organization to The Assemblies of God in the US) and I’ve seen some be so stuck in legalism that it’s binding. It’s human nature. I’m glad that there seems to be less slimy Christian TV and radio evangelists these days, not saying there aren’t any for sure, but I seem to see less of them.
      There is no perfect church…no perfect denomination because there are people in them 🙂 joking…not joking! I’m so thankful to Martin Luther and what he did to stand up for grace. Oh so thankful because I need it!
      Much love,

  3. Brenda says

    Sherry, thank you for this historical review. I’d forgotten much of this. — The question at the end…great one. And, it seems it often takes courage to make a difference, doesn’t it? — Your pic of Martin Luther reminds me of someone modern day (in t.v. maybe?) but, I can’t for the life of me, remember who. haha. 🙂 (P.S. — we need a picture you as Raggedy Ann. 😀 ) xoxo

    • Sherry Stahl says

      He kind of looks like the old librarian in a Canadian TV show called Mr. D in the earlier seasons before it got too bad.
      Now about the picture, I just went to my parents and fished out that picture of me as Raggedy Ann. I’m adding it to the post now 🙂
      Forgot to do that on Tuesday. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Candace Playforth says

    This is so interesting! I didn’t know any of this story. I too am so incredibly thankful of the bold moves of those who came before us. What a difference they made for not only us, but generations to come as well. Thanks for the lesson, Sherry. And I completely agree about the millennials and their own reformation!

    • Sherry Stahl says

      So glad you visited my site today. I couldn’t agree with you more! Praying you’re inspired to have a reformation of your own 🙂

  5. Lori says

    Thanks Sherry for the inspiring story!
    I didn’t know this story before!

    • Sherry Stahl says

      You’re welcome Sis! Hope you loved the picture. You were the most adorable little girl! Now you’re an amazing woman 🙂
      Love you loads,

  6. Mari-Anna says

    Luther nailing his theses to the church door 500 years ago changed a lot for us too. Just think if we could not be saved just by grace through faith in Jesus! To be a friend of grace is a privilege and a gift. Thanks, Sherry. Blessings to you!

    • Sherry Stahl says

      We are so blessed because of his courage. I really want my life to make a difference for future generations.

  7. Valerie Murray says

    I used to know this history but had forgotten. Just the other day my children asked me why we celebrate Halloween. What a great post! Thank you.

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Glad I could help you answer a question for your kids 🙂 Not really the full answer, but one for now maybe. I wonder if a monk or nun will be their choice of costume next year?!?! lol
      Have a blessed weekend!

  8. Marva | SunSparkleShine says

    Thanks, Sherry. I learned a few new things here today. Best of all I was reminded of the amazing gift of grace.
    Thanks, friend.

    • Sherry Stahl says

      I’m so glad you were reminded of His grace!

  9. Gretchen Fleming says

    Thanks for this post! I love church history and especially Martin Luther. Such a good opportunity to be reminded of his life and courage. What a difference one person can make when they yield to God’s Word and follow hard after Christ. Happy to share on Facebook 😉👍

    • Sherry Stahl says

      I’m in a real history phase. My next few posts are about some more church history. I’m inspired when I hear stories of other people living large. Thanks for sharing!
      Praying you have a blessed week! Maybe we’ll meet up on another linkup 🙂

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