For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
After having heard and accepted the true teaching about faith, the apostle Paul seriously admonishes Christians to practice genuine good works. This is because remnants of sin remain in those who are justified. These remnants resist faith and divert us from doing true good works. Human reason and the sinful nature resist the Spirit in believers and control unbelievers. Reason is naturally inclined toward hypocritical superstition. It wants to measure God according to its own thoughts rather than according to his Word. It does works of its own choosing more enthusiastically than the ones God commanded. That’s why faithful teachers must teach and impress on people true love and true good works just as much as they teach faith.
No one should think they fully understand this command: “Love your neighbor.” Certainly this command is very short and very easy as far as the words are concerned. But where are the teachers and learners who actually practice this in life? These words, “Serve one another humbly in love, “and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” are eternal words. No one can think about, urge, and practice them enough.
It’s remarkable that believers will immediately have troubled consciences if they fail to do something trivial. But these same people feel nothing at all when they neglect love and when their hearts aren’t sincere and affectionate toward their neighbor. Unfortunately, this happens every day. For they don’t regard God’s command to love as highly as their own superstitions.
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.