An important truth upon to meditate as we prepare to hear God’s Word today:
Tim Keller points out that Luther understood that the first commandment is really about justification by faith.
This is how Luther put it:
“All those who do not at all times trust God and do not in all their works or sufferings, life and death, trust in His favour, grace and good-will, but seek His favour in other things or in themselves, do not keep this [First] Commandment and practice real idolatry, even if they were to do all the works of all the other Commandments, and in addition had all the prayers, obedience, patience, and chastity of all the saints combined. For the chief work is not present, without which all the others are nothing but mere sham, show and pretence … If we doubt or do not believe that God is gracious to us and is pleased with us, or we presumptuously expect to please Him only through and after our works, then it is pure deception outwardly honouring God, but inwardly setting up self as a false [savour]. Luther, Treatise Concerning Good Works.