May 23

Enoch walked with God, and he was not) for God took him. Genesis 5:24

The first people of the earth eagerly anticipated eternal life because they knew that Abel and Enoch were living with God.  We have an even greater anticipation because we know that Christ has already come and has gone back to the Father to prepare a place for us.  Our human nature spends all of its energy pursuing the fleeting things of this world but doesn’t look forward to the joys of eternal life.  Nothing could be more certain than eternal life.  We have so much evidence!  We know that Abel, Enoch, and Elijah are living with God—even with Christ himself.  Christ is the first of those who have died to come back to life (1 Corinthians 15:20,23).

People who are devoted to seeking worldly pleasures are worthy of contempt.  Similarly, our own human nature, which makes us look for pleasure, is worthy of contempt.  Because we are so wrapped up in the concerns of this world, we care little for the riches of eternal life.

We should pay attention to this passage and keep it in our hearts.  Enoch was not taken from this world by one of his devout ancestors or an angel.  He was taken by God himself.  This is the comfort that relieved the pain of death for the Old Testament believers.  They had so little fear of death that they didn’t even call it death.  Instead, they referred to it as mere sleep from which they would awaken into eternal life.  For believers, death is not death but simply sleep.  When death no longer brings dread and fear—when it no longer has sting and power—it can no longer be called death.  Consequently, when faith becomes stronger, death becomes proportionately weaker.  Lack of faith, on the other hand, increases the bitterness of death.

Martin Luther, Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional

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.

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