Ninth Sunday after Trinity – Wednesday
The just shall live by faith. – Romans 1:17.
Man is justified (declared righteous) before God and saved, not through any work, action, or conduct, but alone through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is what our text teaches. This article of justification and salvation through faith is the chief article, the very heart of Christian doctrine. This is the only saving faith. This, therefore, is the faith of all the children of God, both before and after Christ’s incarnation (Acts 10:43).
This is what Adam believed, and Abraham, and David, and many thousands. This the penitent thief on the cross believed, and Peter, and Luther, and many thousands. This is the doctrine of the Prophets and of the Apostles. By this article of faith the Christian Church distinguishes itself from all false religions. By this faith all true Christians distinguish themselves from false Christians.
If you desire to remain a Christian, who is righteous in the sight of God, and who will obtain eternal salvation, you must hold fast to this article. If, as a Christian, you desire to promote God’s kingdom here on earth, you must do your utmost to have this article retained and preached in the Church in all its purity. As your eye cannot bear to harbor a grain of dust, just so you should also refuse to allow this article to be darkened, obscured, attacked, or injured in the slightest degree. By this article alone all true glory is given to God (Psalm 103:2-3; Revelation 1:5-6). By this article alone true and enduring comfort is afforded poor sinners who long for salvation (Matthew 9:2).
It is awful how furiously Satan rages against this article through his servants, the false teachers. It is awful how people, both young and old (pity on them!) are led away from this faith by those who promote work righteousness (Galatians 5:4). Hold fast, hold fast to this blessed truth, that you are justified before God, and will be saved, not through any work, action, or conduct of yours, but solely through faith in Jesus Christ.
“The just shall live by faith.”
PRAYER – Lord, this is Thy Word of grace for all sinners from the beginning until the end of the world: “The just shall live by faith.” This I will wrap about me, as it were; I will hold fast to it; I will die trusting in it, yes, and appear before Thy judgment-seat and obtain life everlasting. So help me, O faithful God! Let this Word be proclaimed to the end of days, O merciful God! Amen.
By grace! None dare lay claim to merit;
Our works and conduct have no worth.
God in His love sent our Redeemer,
Christ Jesus, to this sinful earth;
His death did for our sins atone,
And we are saved alone by grace.
Hymn 373, 2. (TLH)