Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 1 Peter 3:13-14
Peter doesn’t want you to say that the person who harmed you was doing anything right. For there is a much different judgment between me and God and between me and you. For example, I can have anger, hatred, and evil desire in my heart and not hurt you. You remain unharmed and have nothing against me. But before god, I am guilty. If he punishes me, he does what is right, for I have certainly earned it. If he doesn’t punish me, then he shows mercy to me. He is right either way. But it doesn’t follow from this that the person persecuting me is also doing right. For I have not wronged that person in the same way that I have wronged God.
In Ezekiel 29:19-20, God speaks about King Nebuchadnezzar. It’s as if God were saying, “Don’t you know that he has been my servant and has served me? Now I must give him a reward. I have not yet paid him. I will give him the land of Egypt as his reward.” Nebuchadnezzar had no right to the land, but God had the right to punish others through him. In order that these evil scoundrels won’t eat their bread free of charge, God has them serve him by persecuting his people. Human reason, then, steps in and thinks that people like this must be doing well. But God is only paying them in return for their work of punishing and persecuting devout Christians. But if you endure the punishment and bless God by saying, “You are right, Lord!” you will do well. The God will cast those people into hell and punish them for doing wrong. But he will be mercifully receive you and give you eternal salvation. So let God do what he will. He will certainly repay in the end.
Edited by James C. Galvin
Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:
Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther
Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.