Sin, the Law, the Spirit, and Faith

“The first duty of a Gospel preacher is, through his revealing of the law and of sin, to rebuke and to turn into sin everything in life that does not have the Spirit and faith in Christ as its base.” — Martin Luther

If people were not spiritually blind (1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 4:4), they would lament the vanity of their lives (see Ecclesiastes). As it stands, God’s revealed wrath against their ungodliness and unrighteousness is dismissed by their own unbelief and suppression of the truth (Rom 1:18).

Unbelief loves company. “Surely, you are not reaping what you sow,” says one to another in bad company.

Recognition of our futile lives steals the glory from every man (Eph 4:17). The Gospel preacher has few followers and fewer friends because he must see everything born of the flesh as meaningless (Gen 6:5; Eccl 1–12; Is 64:6; Jer 17:9; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12). Hence, he is quite unpopular in the world and in the church. Deceivers have no shortage of admirers and supporters.

Still, the true Gospel preacher is a liberator.

Truth about human performance and vainglory is what sets the captives free. “I am a worm and not a man,” is the correct self-assessment for the one who understands by faith.

Faith in the truth is a matter of the Spirit-filled heart and mind (Jn 8:32; 2 Cor 4:16; 5:5). The heart is ready to deceive its own self (Jer 17:9), and without the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), a man is fully given to think more highly of himself than he ought.

The clear view is what Luther insists upon for the true preacher…everything is sin, and there is no greater spiritual vice than unbelief in the truth that is Jesus Christ. The Spirit bears witness, but without mercy and grace, men simply do not believe. The reprobate do not have the Spirit (Rom 8:9), nor do they have the Son (Jn 3:36; 1 Jn 5:12), who did not receive them from the Father (Jn 6:37, 44, 65) because they do not belong to Him (1 Cor 3:23).

Faith sees the human condition accurately, and it embraces the one and only solution to human deadness…only by His grace. A man must be born again by the Holy Spirit, and faith knows this is the only salvation from a life of entire sin, as it is exposed by the Law of God.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

February 12, 2022


Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher