Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10
10 Instead, we are God's accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. (CEB)
The scripture passage for today contains one of the most quoted and influential verses in the entire Bible. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” It caused Martin Luther to reject the Catholic Church’s emphasis on good works as the means of salvation and led to the Protestant Reformation. Luther preached that we are justified by faith alone—sola fide!
Where, however, does Luther’s doctrine leave good works? If they are not required for salvation, then why should we do them? Indeed, some persons who accepted Luther’s teachings took his doctrine of sola fide to an extreme and argued that Christians, having been saved through grace, could do anything they wanted to do. Luther, however, rejected this view as a heresy, which he labeled “antinomianism” (anti-law).
On what grounds, however, did Luther attempt to refute antinomianism? Logically, it seems to make sense. Here is what Luther said in his Introduction to Romans. Genuine faith is “a living, creative, active and powerful thing . . . . Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. . . . Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire!”
In short, what Frank Sinatra sang about love and marriage, horse and carriage, can also be said about faith and works: you can’t have one without the other!