Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11
Peter points out here that no believer is completely perfect and pure. Some think this passage refers only to sinners, as if believers don’t have any evil desires. But study Scripture carefully and take note: On one hand, the prophets sometimes speak of believers as if they were pure in every aspect. On the other hand they also speak of them as still having evil desires and struggling against sin. Some people cannot get comfortable with both truths. So look at Christians as having two parts—the inner being, which is faith, and the outer being, which is the sinful nature. If you look at Christians only according to faith, they appear pure and totally clean for the Word of God finds nothing impure in them. When faith enters a person’s heart and the heart accepts it, the Word makes in completely clean. Therefore, all things are perfect in faith, and we are kings, priests, and God’s people. But because faith lives in us and we still live on earth, we at times feel evil inclinations, such as impatience, fear of death, and so on. These are still shortcomings of the sinful nature, for faith doesn’t yet have power over our outer being.
In Luke 10:30-37, a man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers who beat him and left him lying half-dead. Later, a Samaritan bound his wounds, took him, and had him cared for. Because this man was being taken care of, he was no longer deathly ill and was sure to live. He had life, but he didn’t have complete health. In the same way, we have Christ and we are certain of eternal life, but we don’t yet enjoy total health. Some of our evil desires still remain with us.
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.