We Live By Faith - Faith Alone

We Live By Faith

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:

“The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 1:17

When I was a monk, I didn’t accomplish anything through fasting and prayer. This is because neither I nor any of the other monks acknowledged our sin and lack of reverence for God. We didn’t understand original sin, and we didn’t realize that unbelief is also sin. We believed and taught that no matter what people do, they can never be certain of God’s kindness and mercy. As a result, the more I ran after and looked for Christ, the more he eluded me.

When I realized that it was only through God’s grace that I would be enlightened and receive eternal life, I worked diligently to understand what Paul said in Romans 1:17—a righteousness from God is revealed in the gospel. I searched for a long time and tried to understand it again and again. But the Latin words for “a righteousness from God” were in my way. God’s righteousness is usually defined as the characteristic by which he is sinless and condemns the sinner. All the teachers except Augustine interpreted God’s righteousness as God’s anger. So every time I read it, I wished that God had never revealed the gospel. Who could love a God who is angry and who judges and condemns us?

Finally, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I took a closer look at what the prophet Habakkuk said: “The righteous will live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). From this I concluded that life must come from faith. I therefore took the abstract to the concrete level, as we say in school. I related the concept of righteousness to a person becoming righteous. In other words, a person becomes righteous by faith. That opened the whole Bible—even heaven itself—to me!

From the Book:

Faith Alone cover image


Faith Alone
By Martin Luther, James C. Galvin
Zondervan
$7.99

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