Now, dear children, live in Christ. Then, when he appears we will have confidence, and when he comes we won’t turn from him in shame. ~ 1 John 2:28
What should you do when the thought of death frightens you and your conscience bothers you? Live in Christ. You must believe you can accomplish nothing by your own works, but the only way is through Christ’s righteousness. John 6:29 says that the work of God is believing in the one he has sent. So when Nathan corrected David, and David confessed his sin, Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die” (2 Samuel 12:13). David simply lived in grace. He didn’t even think about trying to satisfy God with his works. When Nathan said, “The Lord has taken away your sin,” he was proclaiming the message of grace. And David believed it.
After Adam sinned, he could do nothing that would bring him into a state of grace. But God said that one of his descendants would “crush [the serpent’s] head” (Genesis 3:15). It was by this promise he was made alive. Because he lived in this word, he was saved and justified without any works. Our nature struggles fiercely against being saved without our works and tries to deceive us with a grand illusion of our own righteousness. So we may find ourselves attracted to a life that merely appears to be righteous. Or because we know we aren’t righteous, we may be frightened by death or sin. Therefore, we must learn that we should have nothing to do with any other way of becoming righteous, except through Christ alone.
Martin Luther (AE: 30:263)