May 17

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” John 1:47

The Lord Christ does not want us to brag about being a Christian or, as in the case of Nathanael, being an Israelite.  It’s not enough to say, “I am baptized,” or even to say, “I am a bishop,” “I am a cardinal,” or “I am a preacher.”  You must believe in Christ and live like a Christian.  You must be righteous both on the inside and on the outside. You must not be embarrassed of the Lord Christ and the Christian faith.  If you are, then you are a false Christian.  If you don’t believe in your heart, your entire life is a lie and you remain in darkness.  You aren’t righteous, and you only appear to be a Christian.  Your actions don’t reflect your Christian faith.

If we could separate Christians from one another and divide them into true and false Christians, how many true Christians would we find?  The world is crazy, foolish, and wild.  It’s filled with all kinds of evil—adultery, drunkenness vindictiveness, and other sins.  Some people no longer consider it a sin for people to cheat each other.  Yet these same people want to be considered good Christians.

Believe me, you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.  God isn’t fooled or mocked.  He will know what you are really like in an instant, just as he knew that Nathanael was a true Israelite who believed in the prophets.  He will look at you and say, “Yes, here is a true Christian!”

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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