“How to Fight the Daily Battle of Faith” – Luther

 

Martin Luther on the battle we all face daily.

Although I feel my sin and cannot have as confident and cheerful a heart as I should like, still I must permit the Word to have sway and say accordingly: “I am lord over sin, and I don’t want to know of any sin.” “Indeed,” you will say, “let your own conscience say that; it feels and experiences something far different.” That is surely true; if things followed the rule of feeling, I would surely be lost. But the Word must be valid over and beyond all of the world’s feeling and mine. It must remain true no matter how insignificant it may appear and how feebly it may be believed by me; for we all see and experience the fact that sin condemns us straightway and consigns us to hell, that death consumes us and all the world, and that no one can escape it. And you venture to speak to me of life and of righteousness, of which I cannot behold as much as a small spark! To be sure, that must be but a feeble life. Yes, indeed, but a feeble life by reason of our faith. But no matter how feeble it is, as long as the Word and a small spark of faith remain in the heart, it shall develop into a fire of life which fills heaven and earth and quenches both death and every other misfortune like a little drop of water. And the feeble faith shall tear these asunder so that neither death nor sin will be seen or felt any longer. However, to adhere to faith in the face of seeing and feeling calls for an arduous battle.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:1–2 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: How to Fight the Daily Battle of Faith | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.

 

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“Why We Must Cling to the Word and Sacraments” – Luther

 

Martin Luther on clinging to the Word and Sacraments.

Whoever wants to be proof against that and be safe must take this admonition to heart and be warned to retain and cling to this Word which Paul proclaimed and to ignore whatever objections others might raise to it, even though these may boast of their side of the story and lend it a good appearance. For here you hear what fruit this Gospel of St. Paul produced among them and what fruit it still produces, namely, that all became Christians through it and were saved and that people must still be saved by it. And since this fruit is ours by virtue of the Gospel, why should we search further or permit ourselves to be diverted from this and be directed and led to other things? For whatever directs us otherwise can surely not be as good, but it must be false and sheer seduction, since it pretends to have something which we already have by means of this Gospel; and thereby it denies all this or disdains it utterly. Therefore Paul addresses the Corinthians as though it were unnecessary to admonish them beyond asking them to recall and observe what they received and how they became Christians. “For if you note that,” he wants to say, “you will surely adhere to it and remain safe from all sorts of error. For you can easily differentiate between my doctrine and theirs and judge in accordance with what you gain from each, observing whether they are able to submit something better than my Gospel, by which you are saved.” And let us note here that Paul is speaking of the oral presentation of the Gospel preached by him and that he assigns to it such a claim and such praise, that they “stand in it and are saved by it” alone. This is clone in contrast to our blind spirits who disdain the external Word and Sacrament, and in their stead adduce their own imaginary spiritism.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:1–2 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: Why We Must Cling to the Word and Sacraments | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.

 

“A Prophecy of Things to Come” – Luther

Commenting on the fact that the Corinthians had teachers denying the Resurrection, Luther says:

We are to think of this as put before our eyes as a terrible example which serves to startle and to warn us; and if such spirits were to arise in our midst, we must not permit this article to be taken from us or to be perverted. For I regret to say that I am worried that our great ingratitude merits that some men will arise also among us and publicly deny this article. Therefore it is indeed necessary that we pray earnestly, sincerely, and incessantly to have the pulpit remain pure, so that such affliction may be prevented or checked. For the pulpit can still staunchly resist all sorts of error and endure the whole world’s malice. Let whoever will be converted, be converted; and whoever does not wish to be, let him be gone. At least some will be saved. But where darkness encompasses the whole world and Christians are few in number and, moreover, when the pulpits are occupied by worthless, pernicious pastors, the time will not be far distant when thunder, lightning, and every plague of false doctrine will burst in upon us unexpectedly and before we are aware of it, which believes neither this nor any other article of faith. And we will have to tolerate pastors who mislead us with such loose prattle of reason, yes, even of the vulgar, beastly understanding which sows also have, such as those people in Corinth also shared, as we shall see. Therefore Paul takes this matter very seriously in order to preserve his people in the faith in this article against such abominable factions. And he substantiates this article so mightily that even the gates of hell cannot undo matters wherever the Word is adhered to and one does not give way to let blind, foolish reason indulge in subtle arguments; for reason knows nothing and can comprehend nothing of such sublime matters.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 7:40 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: A Prophecy of Things to Come | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.

“Live Like Guests on This Earth” – Luther

Great words of wisdom:

Christians should treasure that eternal blessing which is theirs in the faith, despising this life so that they do not sink too deeply into it either with love and desire or suffering and boredom, but should rather behave like guests on earth, using everything for a short time because of need and not for pleasure. This would mean having a wife as though I did not have one, when in my heart I would rather remain unmarried but in order to avoid sin have found it necessary to have one. But he who seeks not necessity but also desire, he does not have a wife but is himself possessed by a wife. A Christian should hold to this principle also in all other things. He should only serve necessity and not be a slave to his lust and nurture his old Adam.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 7:31 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: Live Like Guests on This Earth | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.