““This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.”
“The proverb has it that Hunger the best cook. The Law makes afflicted consciences hungry for Christ. Christ tastes good to them. Hungry hearts appreciated Christ. Thirsty souls are what Christ wants. He invites them; Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Christ’s benefits are so precious that He will disperse them only to those who need them and really desire them.”
“Whenever remission of sins is freely proclaimed, people misinterpret it according to Romans 3:8, “Let us do evil, that good may come.” As soon as people hear that we are not justified by the Law, they reason maliciously: “Why, then let us reject the Law. If grace abounds, where sin abounds, let us abound in sin, that grace may all the more abound.” People who reason thus are reckless. They make sport of the Scriptures and slander the sayings of the Holy Ghost.
However, there are others who are not malicious, only weak, who may take offense when told that Law and good works are unnecessary for salvation. These must be instructed as to why good works do not justify, and from what motives good works must be done. Good works are not the cause, but the fruit of righteousness. When we have become righteous, then first are we able and willing to do good. The tree makes the apple; the apple does not make the tree.”
“Paul explains what constitutes true Christian righteousness. True Christian righteousness is the righteousness of Christ who lives in us. We must look away from our own person. Christ and my conscience must become one, so that I can see nothing else but Christ crucified and raised from the dead for me. If I keep on looking at myself, I am gone.
If we lose sight of Christ and begin to consider our past, we simply go to pieces. We must turn our eyes to the brazen serpent, Christ crucified, and believe with all our heart that He is our righteousness and our life. For Christ, on whom our eyes are fixed, in whom we live, who lives in us, is Lord over Law, sin, death, and all evil.”
“I say that man without the grace of God nonetheless remains the general omnipotence of God who effects, and moves and impels all things in a necessary infallible course; but the effect of man’s being carried along is nothing –that is, avails nothing in God’s signt nor is reckoned to be anything but sin.”
At this season of gift giving, we should stop and ask ourselves, what can I give God? What can I do to thank God who has given me everything? Here’s Martin Luther’s answer.
“A gift to God must consist of praise and thanks, or must at least not be without praise and thanks, if it is to please God. And if it is without praise and thanks, He neither wants it nor likes it, as indeed He says (Isa. 1:11): What is your sacrificing to Me? I do not want your offering of incense.
We cannot give God anything: for everything is already His, and all we have comes from Him. We can only give Him praise, thanks and honor.”
“There is no sweeter union than that in a good marriage. Nor is there any death more bitter than that which separates a married couple. Only the death of children comes close to this; how much this hurts I have myself experienced.”
“The kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power, that is, in works and practice. God loves the ‘doers of the word’ in faith and love, and not the ‘mere hearers,’ who, like parrots, have learned to utter certain expressions with readiness.“
“The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone. How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?”
“When the devil sees that he cannot hurt the cause of the Gospel by destructive methods,he does it under the guise of correcting and advancing the cause of the Gospel. He would like best of all to persecute us with fire and sword, but this method has availed him little because through the blood of martyrs the church has been watered. Unable to prevail by force, he engages wicked and ungodly teachers who at first make common cause with us, then claim that they are particularly called to teach the hidden mysteries of the Scriptures to superimpose upon the first principles of Christian doctrine that we teach. This sort of thing brings the Gospel into trouble. May we all cling to the Word of Christ against the wiles of the devil, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”