Daily Luther: Faith First, then Works
True faith is a very powerful, mighty, active thing. Nothing is impossible for it; it does not rest or take a vacation. For that reason St. Stephen’s faith was even more active, doing not only plain, ordinary works, but also wonders and signs publicly among the people. Moreover, Luke calls them “great wonders and great signs” [Acts 6:8]. That is written as a sign that whoever is not active [in faith] is also not a believer, and need not brag about his faith. It is not for nothing that he puts faith first and then the deed, in order to testify that the deed is evidence of the faith. No good can happen without faith. Faith must be first in all deeds. May God help us in this. Amen.
From Luther’s Sermon for St. Stephen in a new edition of his Church Postils, unpublished, but forthcoming from Concordia Publishing House.