November 1st is the anniversary of the Reformation, commemorating the discovery that "salvation was a gift." To understand the immensity of that discovery, it is important to understand original sin. Original sin is the sin that all humans have at birth. Original sin makes us blind to God. A lot of people do not know God. A lot of people do not know Jesus. That is because of original sin.
That is the reason why babies are considered to be sinful and in need of a savior. You might think that they are too young to do anything. However, if you have ever spent time taking care of a baby, you've seen what I mean. For example, who is the most important person in the universe in the baby's eyes? It's the baby, of course! From its perspective, everyone exists to take care of it. But according to the Bible, who is the most important person in the universe? God! The baby is unaware that God is the most important person in the universe. That is original sin. So even though a baby may be too young to commit an act of sin, it still needs a savior. Scripture says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Everyone needs Jesus.
Before the Reformation, Martin Luther used to struggle with the Gospel. He studied the Bible. He became a monk. He made trips to visit the religious museums. He confessed his sins with passion. By human standards, he should have earned every right to feel secure about his salvation. But he didn't.
In all things that he did, Luther realized he was not free. Instead of being happy, he fell into despair. The harder he tried, the more he felt that he was falling short. There would never be enough holy relics to see to ease his heart. There would never be enough study to ease his worry. There would never be enough time to confess all his sins. Martin Luther said that "sin" was like quicksand. The harder he fought with his own strength, the deeper he sank. Luther had to come face-to-face with the reality that God is perfect and we are not. We are sinful and God is not. That was the original sin we inherited. And scripture says the wage of sin is death.
But when Luther started to give up, God led him to the true meaning of the Gospel. The Gospel tells us that "Yes, you are not able to be righteous. You are sinful! You are worthy of death." But someone has come up and said "I will be righteous for them. Not only that, but I will die in their place. I will die for them on the cross. I will go to the executioner so that they can go free." That person was Jesus. Luther wrote: "When I understood it, and the light of the Gospel came into my soul, the gates of paradise opened, and I walked through.
That was the Reformation. The Reformation rediscovered Christian freedom. Freedom from death. Freedom from sin. Freedom! We are no longer enemies of God, no longer slaves to sin. What an awesome gift that is! God now sees us in a radical way, not as enemies but as His children. We have been converted from slaves to children of God... you are a new creation. You are loved by God.