When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15
If these shepherds hadn’t believed the angels, they wouldn’t have gone to Bethlehem. Neither would they have done any of what is recorded in Luke. But when unbelievers say, “Yes, I would certainly believe the message if an angel from heaven announced it to me,” they don’t know what they are saying. For whoever doesn’t receive the Word on its own account will never receive it no matter who preaches it – even if all the angels come and preach it to them. Moreover, those who believe the message on account of the one preaching it aren’t believing the Word. Neither do they believe in God through the Word. Instead, they believe in the preacher. As a result, their faith doesn’t endure.
But those who believe the Word overlook the one who is preaching it. They don’t honor the Word because of the person. On the contrary, they honor the person because of the Word. They never place the person higher than the Word. If the preacher is ruined, falls from faith, or begins preaching a different message, the believers would rather let go of the preacher than give up the WORD. They would stick with the Word regardless of the person involved or the situation.
This is the true difference between genuine and human faith. Human faith is always attached to the person. It believes, trusts, and honors the Word because of the one who speaks it. On the other hand, genuine faith clings to the Word, which is God himself. Genuine faith believes, trusts, and honors the Word because of what it is, not who said it. Faith so strongly senses that the Word is true that no one can tear it away – not even the same preacher who first brought it.
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.