Second Sunday after Michaelmas
You have in the certain nobleman today a beautiful example of faith. He exhibits the nature and character of faith, namely, that it is supposed to increase and, as Dr. Luther put it, become perfect. He shows that faith is not a quiet and idle thing, but a living and restless thing; it rises and falls, ebbs and flows, lives and moves. If this does not occur, then faith does not exist; it is, then, only a lifeless notion of the heart concerning God. “For true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit pours into the heart, cannot be inactive,” as even St. James wrote. (cf. James 2:17) Therefore, do not think that if you have attained faith, that you now have everything; you must constantly grow and increase and continue to learn to know God better.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Here is a primary reason why: the devil is not idle. You are under constant barrage from the enemy, and this is not always something you can see or feel or otherwise even comprehend; sure, there are times when you will, such as when temptations come alluring. However, this is no mere persecution from a world hostile to the Gospel, but from the powers of darkness, as you heard today in the Epistle. (cf. Ephesians 6:12) The devil howls and rages; he is mad and foolish, and he cannot bear that a Christian grows in his faith; therefore, he is always, always at work against it.