I have written many posts in this blog, some books, and many comments about the subject of the subtlety of “works righteousness” and how it keeps Christians in bondage while fooling multitudes of Christian wannabees into thinking they are genuinely saved because of the good works they do. The Bible is very clear that genuine Christians will do good works, which are simply a product of their regenerate hearts. On the other hand those in bondage to “works righteousness” do so in an attempt to “earn” their salvation or to feel better about themselves. The following devotional by Martin Luther, I believe, succinctly explains this. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff
by Martin Luther
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:22)
A Christian is righteous and a sinner at the same time–both a friend and an enemy of God. The philosophers will not admit this paradox because they don’t accept the right way of becoming justified. That’s why they demand that people keep on doing good works until they don’t feel sin anymore. This teaching has caused many people to become very distraught, because they have strived as much as they could to become completely righteous but could never achieve it. Even among those who spread this godless teaching, countless numbers of them have fallen into despair in their hour of death. This would have happened to me if Christ hadn’t mercifully looked upon me and freed me from this error.
In contrast, we teach and comfort troubled sinners this way: Dear brothers and sisters, it’s impossible for you to become so righteous in this life that you won’t feel sin anymore.It’s impossible for your body to become as bright and spotless as the sun. Though you still have wrinkles and spots, in spite of this, you are holy. But you may wonder, “how can I be holy since I sin and feel sinful?” Recognizing and feeling your sin is good. Thank God, and don’t despair. It’s a step toward health whenever a sick person recognizes his disease. “But how can I be freed from sin?” you wonder. Run to Christ, the Physician who heals the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3). He makes sinners holy.
From Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional James C. Galvin General Editor
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