December 27


and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.   Luke 2:37


Someone might say about this passage, “In Anna’s story, we see Scripture raising good works, such as fasting, praying, and going to the temple.  Doesn’t this keep us from rejecting good works?”  Here’s our answer:  Who rejected good works?  We only reject the false works that appear to be good works.  Fasting, praying, and going to church are good works if they are done in the right spirit.

But the problem begins when blind fools jump into Scripture, clomp around in it with boots and spurs, and only look at the works and outward example of people in the Bible.  They want to learn about being holy and so immediately try to follow their example.  This only leads to people becoming hypocrites, because they forget that the Scriptures speak much more about the person than their works.  For example, the Bible praises Abel’s sacrifice, but it praises the kind of person he was even more.  These hypocrites, however, skip right over the person and only take note of what they do.  All they grasp is the works – they miss the faith.  They eat the husk and throw out the grain.  As the prophet Hosea says, “They turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes” (Hosea 3:1).

If you wish to fast and pray as holy Anna did, that’s fine.  But see to it that you first follow the example of her as a person and then afterward follow the example of her works.


Life of Luther


Barnas Sears, D.D.


An historic and comprehensive biography of early Christianity’s most influential leader of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther.


Controversial and visionary, Luther’s life is revealed in this rare presentation of his work as an educator and church leader. From his birth and childhood, to his religious education, and the events leading up to the Protestant Reformation, you will discover the views and experiences that led to his excommunication by the Pope in 1520. Correspondence and accounts shed further light on Luther’s defiant translation of the Bible from Latin to the language of the common man.

This unique biography is reproduced from an 1850 American Sunday School Union original, and in it you will be introduced to the pivotal life of this enigmatic man before, during, and after one of Christianity’s defining events.


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