I know there is no such word in English as ‘performation’. The reason for such a clumsy coining of a word is that for many people being a Christian means to perform. To perform that I am righteous, pure, holy, fulfilling all God’s commands. What we all need is Refor4mation, not ‘performation’.
Martin Luther as a young monk was desperate to be right with God. He put all his energy into fulfilling God’s law. And when he failed, he went to confession and did penance. In fact, he was so often at confession that his confessor was fed up with him. Luther was distressed because of his sinful nature. The leader of the monastery, Johan Staupitz, wisely and pastorally suggested to Luther to set aside his theological books and rather read his Bible.
Luther began studying the New Testament in the original Greek, and when he got to Paul’s letter to the Romans he made an amazing discovery.
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
Luther realised this means that it is not we who make ourselves righteous, but someone else, God, declares us righteous. This he found confirmed when he read on in Romans 5:1 “we have been justified through faith.” Justification, becoming just and righteous, has nothing to do being made righteous, without fault, but it means God has declared us righteous because we believe in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God sees us through the ‘lens’ of Jesus Christ, our righteousness. Jesus took upon himself all our sins and performed the sacrifice, paid the penalty for each one of them! Believing in Jesus and trusting in his redeeming sacrifice we are saved, and God declares us righteous.
When I was young, we did not have a colour television, it was black and white. Some might remember this, or you might find it in a museum. Often people took a coloured cellophane sheet and stuck it in front of the TV. And hey, presto the TV was colour!
Being righteous is a bit like that. God looks upon us through the colour of righteousness of the ‘lens’ of Jesus Christ, and He declares us righteous.
By reading his Bible, Luther found the grace of God, found peace for his troubled soul, and was totally reformed. It reformed his understanding of God, Jesus, salvation, and faith which in turn lead him to reform the church.
At the anniversary of the Reformation (31 October 1517) we need to pray for more people like Luther! People who read their Bibles, grow in their faith and relationship with God and stop performing and begin reforming – not just their own lives but life, people and community around them too!
Will you be one of them?!