What a living, creative, active powerful thing is faith!Martin Luther
This quote is from one of my favorite pieces of writing by Martin Luther, his Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans. Here is a little more from this great work:
Faith is a work of God in us, which changes us and brings us to birth anew from God (cf. John 1). It kills the old Adam, makes us completely different people in heart, mind, senses, and all our powers, and brings the Holy Spirit with it. What a living, creative, active powerful thing is faith! It is impossible that faith ever stop doing good. Faith doesn’t ask whether good works are to be done, but, before it is asked, it has done them. It is always active. Whoever doesn’t do such works is without faith; he gropes and searches about him for faith and good works but doesn’t know what faith or good works are. Even so, he chatters on with a great many words about faith and good works.
Faith is a living, unshakeable confidence in God’s grace; it is so certain, that someone would die a thousand times for it. This kind of trust in and knowledge of God’s grace makes a person joyful, confident, and happy with regard to God and all creatures. This is what the Holy Spirit does by faith.
I love Luther’s reflection on faith as being something so active! Yes, we are justified by grace through faith apart from our works, but our faith draws us into a life-giving relationship that is always active, always doing good works, always responding to the gift of grace with our good works. This and more is “what the Holy Spirit does by faith.”
You can read Luther’s whole preface here: Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans.