August 5

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3

A child who will be born two years from now doesn’t yet exist.  The woman who will carry and give birth to the child is still a virgin, and the child hasn’t even been conceived.  That child can do nothing, for that child does not yet exist.  Everyone can understand that.  In the same way, all works, no matter how precious and good they might be, amount to nothing if a person does them before they have been spiritually born.  These works lead only to sin and death.  This is why Jesus said that Nicodemus and all the Pharisees were nothing if they didn’t accept him, for they hadn’t been born anew.

But what will become of those who do even less than Nicodemus?  What will happen to all those religious people whose works are nothing compared to those of Nicodemus?  None of those people will be able to do good works that please God, because they haven’t been born anew.  We aren’t condemning good works.  People first have to be made ready to do good works by being born anew.  Only then will they be capable of doing good works.

If you want to have a carpenter build a house, the carpenter must first exist.  For what can be built if the carpenter hasn’t been born yet?  The same is true for good works.  Doing good works doesn’t make anyone good.  First, ask yourself if you have been born anew.  The after that, ask yourself what works you should do.  Many people, however, don’t go about it that way.  They mistakenly assume that their good works can save them.  Just make sure that you are born again.  Because if you are not, your good works are worthless.

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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