26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)

Some people imagine that faith is a quality that sticks to the heart on its own, with or without Christ. This is a dangerous error.

Christ should be placed directly before our eyes so that we see and hear nothing apart from him and believe that nothing is closer to us than Christ.

For he doesn’t sit idly in heaven but is continually present in us. He is working and living in us, for Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

He also says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Therefore, faith is an unswerving gaze that looks on Christ alone. He is the conquerer of sin and death.

Jesus is the one who gives us righteousness, salvation, and eternal life. This is beautifully illustrated by the account of the bronze snake, which points to Christ (John 3:14).

Moses commanded the Israelites, who had been bitten in the desert by poisonous snakes, to look at this bronze snake with an unswerving gaze.

Those who did so were healed simply by steadily gazing at the snake alone. In contrast, others who didn’t obey Moses looked at their wounds instead of the snake and died.

So if you want to be comforted when your conscience plagues you or when you are in dire distress, then you must do nothing but grasp Christ in faith.

Then say:

“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who suffered, was crucified, and died for me. In his wounds and death, I see my sin. In his resurrection, I see victory over sin, death, and the devil, I see righteousness and eternal life as well. I want to see and hear nothing except him.”

This is true faith in Christ and the right way to believe. ((Martin Luther, Faith Alone [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], January 18.))

Martin Luther

Further reading