A Remedy for a Heart Condition
There was a godly Christian woman who startled her friends by saying, “There isn’t a sin of which I am not capable. I could be a prostitute; I could murder; I could embezzle.”
Most of her friends were not impressed with her frankness. Instead they thought that she was displaying a false humility. Then she added, “You don’t really believe what I just said. I mean it—because I realize that any particular sin that crops up in someone else’s life expresses itself in me, but in different ways. Until I accept that, I am self-righteous, proud, and arrogant.”
 Further, it is taught that good works should and must be done, not that a person relies on them to earn grace, but for God’s sake and to God’s praise. [28–29] Faith alone always takes hold of grace and forgiveness of sin. Because the Holy Spirit is given through faith, the heart is also moved to do good works.  For before, because it lacks the Holy Spirit, the heart is too weak.  Moreover, it is in the power of the devil who drives our poor human nature to many sins,  as we observe in the philosophers who tried to live honestly and blamelessly, but then failed to do so and fell into many great, public sins.  That is what happens to human beings when they are separated from true faith, are without the Holy Spirit, and govern themselves through their own human strength alone.
 That is why this teaching concerning faith is not to be censured for prohibiting good works. On the contrary, it should be praised for teaching the performance of good works and for offering help as to how they may be done.  For without faith and without Christ human nature and human power are much too weak to do good works:  such as to call on God, to have patience in suffering, to love the neighbor, to engage diligently in legitimate callings, to be obedient, to avoid evil lust, etc.  Such lofty and genuine works cannot be done without the help of Christ,  as he himself says in John 15[:5*]: “Apart from me you can do nothing.”