The Great Physician

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

Powered by Qumana

7 thoughts on “The Great Physician

  1. I personally believe that there are more people who do not do good works who think they are saved than the reverse, but in Luther’s time is was not so.

    A question: When a person does good works for God in order to be saved, and if he is completely fallen and cannot find it within himself to do anything but rebel against God, by what motivation is he attempting to serve a God he should not even be aware of? And, if this same person is not of the elect, and if as Calvin suggests an elect person will only respond to the truth, than this “works” person’s situation is hopeless and of no consequence to us other than a curiosity.

    Some of the things that I will never understand…


  2. Rick,

    Yes, it is perplexing. I believe that what we see in religious non-believers are people who are Christians on their own terms. They are not submitted to the Sovereignty and Lordship of God. Are they elect? Some may be God will save in His timing, but most are probably just being religious to try to feel good about themselves.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  3. Mike,
    It has been a long time since I have had the opportunity to visit your site, yet as usual you offer words or truth and edification that are beneficial to the believer.

    erLuther states, “Run to Christ, the Physician who heals the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3). He makes sinners holy.”

    There is no other remedy for the heart of sin. Run… and Run…with all your might, and fall there prostrate at the foot of the cross. Believe and thank God for the Work that Christ alone did on your behalf.

    Rick, if I may, I will comment on your unanswerable question.
    You ask “by what motivation is he attempting to serve a God he should not even be aware of?”
    The motivation is selfishness/self centeredness…the motive for all that we do in a lost state is self. My ethics professor would say this person is in the preconventional moral formation. In this place the question is “what is the benefit to me.” This person does obey rules, but with the desire of self promotion and protection.

    The demons even know who God is. I don’t believe that scripture says that a man will never have an awareness of God, it says that He will not seek God. The awareness does not imply that the one is desiring to honor God, but rather seeking to honor self or others–To build a reputation that will benefit me ultimately.

    I do not confess to have the answers…but this is just where my thoughts ran when I read your comment.

    Thanks Mike…I really miss being here regularly.


  4. Hi Mike,
    I was in the coffee shop this morning doing my devotions and I was reading Ephesians, what a wonderful book. There is nothing we can do to please God that will save us. It is pure grace.

    I was reading how Paul informed us that we were created to do good works but that is the working of Holy Spirit in us.

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17. ….We are not what we were, faith produces good works.

    When you look at the many cults out there, they base there so called entrance into heaven by their works and some can out shame some of us by the lengths they go…but to no avail.

    Galations 5:22-23 kind of says it all of what we see in a true christian.

    Mike you and afew other bloggers have been such a blessing to me this past year, thank you. You have taught me a lot in what I have read here.




  5. Cristina,

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Don’t ever think I don’t glean much edification from the wonderful comments you and others leave on my blog. God bless!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  6. If I may be allowed to comment, The reason that normal people do good works is for their own glory. We as christians should ideally seek the glory of God even in the smallest thing which we do. We want christ to live in us and not our own self, so all that we do should be to glorify our father in heaven. I fail miserably in that, and though I am sad about that, yet in a way I am thankful that God lets me realise that I can’t do anything by my own strength. So when a normal person does a good work, they are not seeking to glorify God but their own souls so that one day then can ask God to allow them Justice based on their good works, But God clearly says that all our righteousness is like filthy rags. I am not at all surprised at people who are nice and are much better than many christians, In fact even if they do their good works God will definitely be just to them, but unlike us christians who solely look unto God for our salvation and strength, they can never understand the strength which we gain through the grace the Lord Jesus Christ bestows upon us or the sonship which God gives to us sinners. I pray (most of all for myself) that we all will learn to die daily to self and look only to God for strength.


Comments are closed.