Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1
We ought to admire Abraham because he allowed God to reprimand him. Even though he was afraid of God’s anger, he admitted that he had been worshipping idols and had not trusted God. Then he started a journey without knowing where he was going. Abraham left his familiar homeland to look for an unfamiliar foreign country. While faith convinced him that he would get there, outward appearances made this seem uncertain. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, he never had a permanent place to live after that. Even David praises this lifestyle, using it as an example when he says, “For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were” (Psalm 39:12).
Someone might say, “What? Wasn’t David a king? Wasn’t Abraham a very wealthy man, even though he moved from place to place?” Although all of this is true, David and Abraham didn’t have much, because they treated their possessions as if they didn’t belong to them. As Paul said, those who use the things of the world should do so “as if not engrossed in them” (1 Corinthians 7:31).
Faithful people have always lived this way. They take care of their home and family, participate in society and government, raise children, and have occupations in agriculture, commerce, and industry. All the while, they realize that they, like their ancestors, are temporary residents of a foreign land. This world is merely a hotel that they will have to leave soon. Because they know this, they don’t allow themselves to become too attached to the things of this world. They take care of their physical needs with their left hand while raising their right hand toward their eternal home.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.