Scripture: "For other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ; but let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon."—\ COR. iii. 10, 11.
"Not laying again the foundation"—these words to the Hebrews were certainly not applicable to the Reformation. In the course of centuries the Church of Rome in building had left the true foundation. Instead of justification by faith in Jesus Christ being the foundation of Christian life, the Church itself claimed power to forgive sin. Forgiveness could be obtained only through a priest; indeed it might be bought from a priest for money. The great work of Luther and Calvin was to lay anew the foundation of Jesus Christ, to the comfort of thousands of anxious souls. We can never thank God enough for the Reforma¬tion, when Jesus was proclaimed anew our righteousness—our peace with God.
That great work of Reformation was not accomplished in a day or a year. It took fifty years to establish the Reformation, and even after that time there were many priests whose conversion did not include the power of a holy life. Calvin himself said the Reformation was more in doctrine than in the lives of the people, and he felt deeply the need of the people to be taught and trained in the paths of righteousness. It was no wonder that so long as the foundation had to be relaid in the full truth of conversion and faith, there was delay in the building itself on the true foundation —a life of sanctification.
The Reformation is sometimes thought of as a return to Pentecost, but it was by no means that. Instead of brotherly love, separation from the world, and earnestness in preaching Christ by all who loved Him, there was much controversy among the Reformers. They trusted too much to the patronage of statesmen where these were kindly disposed towards them, and preaching was the work of ordained priests only, in contrast to the Pentecostal witnessing for Christ by all those who were constrained by His love.