pray God for pardon through Christ Jesus. Through having done this, we firmly believe that God has forgiven us our sins. Now by faith we have become members of Christ, not in nature, that is, in will and works. So far as flesh is concerned, that cannot be obedient to the command of God, but by faith power is given us to become children of God, after the spirit and soul, and to will and work good—though still all our works according to the flesh are blameworthy, evil, and worthless, and not at all righteous in the sight of God.
Third, since we now know that only by faith are we children of God and members of Christ, we have not all one duty. So that one should take the lead in teaching, another protects, a third tills the earth, a fourth makes shoes and clothes. Yet these works all proceed from faith, and are done for the benefit of our neighbour. Paul also writes further: "Wherefore you must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake." [Rom. xiii., 5.] What does that mean? It is this: the secular power is ordained of God for the peace of society—even if there were no Scripture about it to make us obedient to the government, our own conscience and knowledge tell us that. We should help, protect, defend the government, and pay service and taxes, so that we may remain in worldly peace with one another; for to have peace in this world is not contrary to a Christian life. Otherwise Paul would never have taught us through Timothy to pray for kings, princes, and governors; but to keep peace with all men, as much as in us lies, that is right and Christian, (1 Tim. ii., Rom. ii.) But if God pleases to send us the exact contrary, we must receive it with patience. Do you see now, dear brothers, that your own conscience compels