The Just Shall Live by Faith (Rom 1:17)

The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17

Man is not justified by God or saved through any work, action or conduct, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. This is what our text teaches. This is what is called, “the article of Justification.” And this teaching of salvation through faith is the “chief article” of doctrine that stands at the heart of the Christian faith. Faith and trust in the work done by Christ to save us from punishment for our sin is the only kind of faith that saves a person from hell.

This faith, therefore, is the faith of all the children of God whether they lived before or after Christ’s miraculous conception and birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Adam believed this truth, Abraham believed it, David believed it, and many thousands of others during the time of the Patriarchs and Kings until the time of Jesus’ birth. This is the same faith that was believed by the robber on the cross as well as Peter and Luther and many thousands of others since the time of Jesus’ birth including Simeon, Anna, Thomas, Stephen, the Ethiopian Eunuch, and many, many others. This is the doctrine of all the prophets and all the Apostles.

The pure teaching of this article of faith is what distinguishes the Christian Church from all false religions. By the clear proclaimation of this truth, true Christians distinguish themselves from false Christians. If you would be a Christian and be righteous in the sight of God and and obtain eternal salvation, you must build your hope and assurance upon the solid rock of this truth. If you would be a true Christian and a useful member of God’s Kingdom, you must do everything possible to have this article kept and purely preached and taught in the Church.

As a grain of dust irritates and causes a reaction in the eye, likewise, you must react and seek to overthrow anything that would darken, obscure, attack or injure the truth of Christ’s all sufficient work for your salvation.

It is only through the clear teaching of this article that all true glory is given to God. It is by this article alone that true and lasting comfort is given to poor, miserable sinners who long for salvation.

Satan rages furiously against this truth and through his servants, the false teachers, attempts to hide and obscure it from view. By such deception, both young and old (pity on them!) are led away from the only faith that will save them from eternal death.

Hold fast! Lay hold of this truth and never let it go! You are justified before God and will be saved not through any work, action, or conduct of yours, but only because Christ has accomplished everything for your salvation. “The just shall live by faith.”

PRAYER: Lord, this is Your word of grace for all sinners – from the beginning until the end of the world, “The just shall live by faith.” This truth I will wrap about me. I will hold tightly to it and I will die trusting it. And when I appear before Your judgment throne, I shall obtain everlasting life. Help me, O my faithful God! Let this truth be proclaimed in Your Church to the end of days, and let it reach my own ears until I breathe my final breath. Lord in Your Mercy, Hear my prayer. AMEN.


Devotion updated and revised by Rev. Matthew T. Dent from “CRUMBS: Short Devotions for Every Day of the Year.” Originally written by C. M. Zorn and translated into English by the author’s son, H.M. Zorn. Published 1914, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis Missouri. p. 210-211.

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