Posts tagged “Luther

Expect trials, be patient

Posted on April 7th, 2014

If you lead a temperate and sensible life, you should not suppose that you will live without trials and persecution. For if you believe and lead a good, Christian life, the world will not let you alone. It must persecute you and be your enemy. You must bear this with patience, which is a fruit of faith. Luther, AE 30, p156

The role of works in the last judgment

Posted on March 28th, 2014

Jesus clearly speaks about a salvation based upon works (e.g., Mt. 25). How can we reconcile this with the clear statements of Scripture that attribute salvation to the grace of God? Matthew Levering helpfully observes, Works of love have this role in the last judgment because they show that we share in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who makes us adopted children of God. Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian (p. 94). Baylor University Press. As Luther would put it, “Works serve the neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.”

The Gospel and instruction in the Christian life

Posted on February 25th, 2014

Can a preacher of the Gospel emphasize instruction in Christian living? Holsten Fagerberg asserts that this is part of the Confessional teaching: In the preface to LC Luther complains about the neglect of private devotions on the part of Evangelical pastors. Having been freed from the compulsion of reading the breviary every day, one could at least desire that “every morning, noon, and evening they would read, instead, at least a page or two from the Catechism, the Prayer Book, the New Testament, or something else from the Bible and would pray the Lord’s Prayer for themselves and their parishioners. In this way they might show honor and gratitude to the Gospel, through which they have been delivered from so many burdens and troubles, and…

Suffering in your station

Posted on February 4th, 2014

Dr. Luther on suffering in our vocations: I ask where our suffering is to be found. I shall soon tell you: Run through all stations of life, from the lowest to the highest, and you will find what you are looking for. We are not to look for a cross, the devil and world will make one for us. Simply live as an earnest Christian, preacher, pastor, burgher, farmer, noble, lord, and fulfill your office faithfully and loyally. Let the devil worry where he can find a piece of wood out of which to make a cross for you, and the world where it can find a branch out of which to make a scourge for your hide. Quoted in Wingren, Luther on Vocation, pp29f

Luther on belief without works

Posted on January 16th, 2014

“My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Dr. Luther says that St. John is denouncing those who only pay lip-service to the Gospel. They retain just the froth together with their presumption that faith and the Gospel are a mere matter of words…. You can see that their doctrines are mere husks and empty shells from the way these people conduct their lives. They have no intention of living in accordance with the Gospel nor do they intend to demonstrate Christian love to show that they really do take the gospel seriously. That is why they become slothful and refuse to do any works, protesting that their field of action…

God is not joking

Posted on December 17th, 2013

More from our Confessions on faith and works, this time from the Large Catechism, Fourth Commandment: How can you lead a more blessed or holier life as far as your works are concerned? In God’s sight faith is what really makes a person holy and serves Him alone, but the works are for the service of people. (I.146f) Then Dr. Luther speaks about rewards for the pious and punishments for the rebellious. He then urges us toward godliness: Whoever will not be moved by this and lean toward godliness we hand over to the hangman and to the skeleton man. Therefore, let everyone who allows himself to be advised remember that God is not joking. Know that it is God who speaks with you and…

Prepare for the storm

Posted on November 19th, 2013

When Peter was walking upon the water, he was safe as long as he kept in mind Jesus’ Word. When he lost the Word, he began to sink. The storm comes to drive us back to Jesus and His Word. Thus writes Dr. Luther: This is how it is when Christ comes into your ship. It will not stay calm for long. A storm will come. If you want to be a Christian then you should prepare for this storm and this discord…. Whoever wants to live bless by God in Christ must suffer persecution, as St. Paul says. -Luther Brevier, p340

Encouragement for preachers

Posted on October 10th, 2013

The following bit from Luther is simple; nevertheless I was encouraged by it. I hope the pastors out there will also be encouraged. Whoever has taken on the office of a preacher must be aware that the Devil and the World will unceasingly attack you. If you speak the truth, then the World will become confused and stupid.… If you feel you are suffering from [the Devil's] attack and the World is cursing you, persecuting you, taunting you and ridiculing you and in addition if the Devil is afflicting you – what should you do? Should you become impatient, give up the office of a preacher, run away from this calling and start cursing? No, certainly not – you should instead be patient, wait…

Torn from my heart

Posted on September 10th, 2013

Words of great comfort from Dr. Luther: If you believe that it is really true that Christ has suffered for you and saved you, then you can say “If Christ has my sin, that means it is no longer mine simply because Christ has it.” He has torn the sin from my heart and from my conscience where I had a register of sins in which the following was written: “You have been an adulterer, a murderer and a thief.” However, as I have the Word: “Christ has taken my sin upon Himself”, you will therefore not find my sins in any register or book neither in heaven nor on earth. They have all been written onto the Son of God; that is the…

Activating the Spirit’s Power

Posted on August 22nd, 2013

Reflecting on Luther’s discussion in the Smalcald Articles of the power of the spoken Word of God, Hosten Fagerberg observes, This Word bears the power of the Holy Spirit, or, to be more exact, that the Holy Spirit’s power is activated through the Word. The Word is a Word of promise, which is valid now and is addressed to us through a personal assurance of God’s grace and the forgiveness of sins. A New Look at the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1537) (Kindle Locations 446-448)