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Friends in Christ,
The Lord be with you.

Over these days and weeks of isolation and separation from the Lord's house, I will be reaching out with various devotions and prayers; some written by me, some written by others. In this way, I hope to stay in touch with you and I pray that these meditations on God's Word will grant you strength, hope, peace and even joy in Christ over the days ahead.

The first installment of these devotions comes from the pen of Dr. Martin Luther on the essence of faith. The following is an excerpt from Luther's famous Eight Sermons at Wittenberg (1522). On March 6, 1522 Luther returned from the Wartburg to help restore order to the churches of the reformation from turbulence and confusion caused by the radical reformers. On March 9, Invocavit (Latin for “I call”) Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, Luther preached the first of eight sermons focused on the gospel of Christ and what was essential to the faith.

Faith … is a firm trust that Christ, the Son of God, stands in our place and has taken all our sins upon his shoulders and that he is the eternal satisfaction for our sin and reconciles us with God the Father. He who has this faith … devil nor hell nor sin can harm him. Why? Because God is his protector and defender. And when I have this faith, then I am certain God is fighting for me; I can defy the devil, death, hell, and sin, and all the harm with which they threaten me. This is the great, inestimable treasure given us in Christ, which no man can describe or grasp in words. Only faith can take hold of the heart … But if you believe that God steps in for you and stakes all he has and his blood for you, as if he were saying: Fall in behind me without fear or delay, and then let us see what can harm you; come devil, death, sin, and hell, and all creation, I shall go before you, for I will be your rear guard and your vanguard (Isaiah 52:12); trust me and boldly rely upon me. He who believes that can not be harmed by devil, hell, sin, or death. 1

Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, You did not spare Your only Son, but gave Him up for the sins of the whole world. Because Your Son stood in our place and took upon Himself the wrath and punishment for sin that was ours, His blood covers us from all sin, makes us Your holy and beloved children, defends us from the evil one and gives us a life that death cannot touch. Strengthen us in these gray and latter days that You are indeed our protector and defender, our rearguard and vanguard, that in You we are completely safe from devil, hell, sin and death itself; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you. Amen

Serving you in Christ,
Pastor Nettleton

  1. Martin Luther, The Sixth Sermon, March 14, 1522, Friday after Invocavit, vol. 51, Luther's Works, 92-93.

Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at or at 970-305-2420.