Saturday, September 24, 2011

Luther on Faith and Love

In the leper it teaches us faith, in Christ it teaches us love. Now, as I have often said, faith and love constitute the whole character of the Christian. Faith receives, love gives. Faith brings man to God, love brings man to his fellow. Through faith he permits God to do him good, through love he does good to his brother man. For whoever believes has every thing from God, and is happy and rich. Therefore he needs henceforth nothing more, but all he lives and does, he orders for the good and benefit of his neighbor, and through love he does to his neighbor as God did to him through faith. Thus he reaps good from above through faith, and gives good below through love. Against this kind of life work-righteous persons with their merits and good works terribly contend for they do works only to serve themselves, they live only unto themselves, and do good without faith. These two principles, faith and love, we will now consider as they appear in the lepers and in Christ.

In the first place it is a characteristic of faith to presume to trust God's grace, and it forms a bright vision and refuge in God, doubting nothing it thinks God will have regard for his faith, and not forsake it. For where there is no such vision and confidence, there is no true faith, and there is also no true prayer nor any seeking after God. But where it exists it makes man bold and anxious freely to bring his troubles unto God, and earnestly to pray for help.

Luther's Sermon on the Ten Lepers, Luke 17:11-19

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