But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
We shouldn’t become proud in times of prosperity nor despair in times of trouble. On the one hand, we must keep our arrogance in check by fearing God. On the other hand, we should cling to his mercy in those times when we think he is angry with us. By doing so, we won’t crash into heaven with our big heads or fall flat on our faces on the earth.
The person who is humble and has a broken heart is neither proud nor full of despair. Yet it’s difficult for us to avoid both arrogance and despair. In our weakness, we sometimes swerve to the right and sometimes to the left. Whenever we feel overconfident or full of despair, we must make an effort to resist such tendencies. We cannot give in to either one. When an archer misses the bull’s eye, the archer is still awarded points for hitting the target. Similarly, God is please when we at least fight against arrogance and despair. Even if we may not show enough joy in times of trouble or enough reverence for God in times of prosperity, he won’t hold it against his faithful people. We have Christ as our mediator. Through him, we are considered true saints even though we have barely started to act like holy people.
In summary, those with many troubles should lift their spirits by acknowledging God’s mercy and remembering what Christ has done for them. Those with few troubles should drive out arrogance by living in the fear of God.
95 Theses are reproduced in their entirety, with an introduction and explanatory notes to aid readers in discerning the significance of Luther’s call to reformation.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.