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SAYINGS IN WHICH LUTHER FOUND COMFORT

SAYINGS IN WHICH LUTHER FOUND COMFORT

1

There are times when, for the sake of God’s word, we must endure the hardship, anguish, and persecution which the holy cross brings upon us. In such times we can rightfully bestir and strengthen ourselves with God’s help in such a way that we can be bold, alert, and cheerful, committing our cause to God’s gracious and fatherly will. Thus St. Paul says, II Timothy 3 :12 “All who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted,” and Acts 14:22, “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God,” and Philippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

2

“Our cause rests in the hand of him who distinctly tells us, “No one can snatch them out of my hand,” John 10:28. Furthermore, the gates of hell shall not prevail against my church,” Matthew 16:18. And Isaiah 46:4, “Even to your old age and to gray hairs I will bear you. I will do it, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

3

“It would neither be good nor prudent to take matters into our own hands because we could and would easily be defeated.”

 

4

“In any case, it is true that God gave up his own Son for us all, Romans 8 32. If that be true, why do we falter, or worry, or hang our heads? If God gave up his own Son for us all, how could he ever intend to forsake us in less important things?”

5

“Truly God is very much stronger and more powerful than the devil, as I John 4:4 says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

6

“Furthermore, this cause does not depend just on us, but there are many devout Christian people in other lands who make common cause with us and uphold us with heartfelt sighs and Christian prayer.”

 

7

“We possess God’s many encouraging promises and rich assurances. In fact the entire psalter, all the gospels—yes, all Scripture is filled with them and they are by no means to be scorned but should be highly valued, such as Psalm 55 :22, “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” And Psalm 22 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be of good cheer; do not despair and wait for the Lord!” Furthermore Christ himself says, John 16 33, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

This cannot be wrong—I’m sure of it—that Christ, the Son of God, has overcome the world. Why do we tremble before the world as before a triumphant conqueror? It is worth going to Rome or Jerusalem on one’s knees to obtain those words of Christ.”

 

8

“Though our faith is weak, let us pray earnestly along with the apostles, Luke 17 :5, “Lord, increase our faith,” and with the child’s father in Mark 9 :24, “Lord, I believe: help my unbelief!”

9

“The cause of Christ was in greater peril in the times of the Roman emperors Diocletian, Maximinius, and others who persecuted the Christian church in horrible ways and attempted to destroy it completely, and likewise in the times of John Huss and others, than it is in our own times.”

 

10

“He bids us be of good cheer and joyful, Psalm 32 :11, “Be glad in the Lord,” and Psalm 145 :18–19, “The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. He fulfils the desire of all who fear him. He hears their cry, and saves them.”

 

And Psalm 91 :14–16, “Because he cleaves to me, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

 

11

“Even though we worry and fret so much, such needless anxiety will avail us nothing. We only plague and trouble ourselves and make matters all the worse. God wants us to look to him as our God and Father in Christ, to call upon him in every time of need and to be confident that he will provide for us, as St. Peter says, quoting Psalm 55 :22, “Cast all your anxieties on him for he cares about you” I Pet. 5:7, and as Christ himself says, Matthew 6:31, “You should not be anxious.”

 

12

“The devil and his cohorts can do no worse than slay us bodily. They cannot touch our souls at all, as Christ says when he comforted his own, Matthew 10 :28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”

 

13

“Christ, our dear Lord and Savior, died once for our sin, as it is written in Romans 4:25: 6:10, Hebrews 7:27, and 9:28. Henceforth he will not die again for the sake of righteousness and truth, but rules as all-powerful Lord over every creature. If this be true, as Scripture continually testifies, what are we afraid of?”

 

14

“Though, if God so ordains, we ourselves might be destroyed for the sake of his word, the Almighty and Merciful God who in Christ has become our Father, will then be a kind and gracious father and guardian, defender and protector for our wives and children, our widows and orphans, and he will manage matters a thousand times better than we could if we were living.”

15

“The First Commandment places our children and descendants under God’s protection and providence, as God himself says, “I show mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” Exod. 20:6. We ought rightfully to believe these exalted and comforting words of the Divine Majesty.

Though our faith be weak, we nevertheless rely on God’s honor that he can and will do what he says and promises.”

 

16

 

“If God were to announce all this through an angel we would not east it lightly to the winds and ignore it, as, unfortunately, we do when it is brought to us by the spoken word. But though we fail to believe it when it is preached, we dare not despise the prophets, Christ himself, or the apostles who preach to us in such rich measure and gently admonish us with words of consolation and encouragement and shower us with such words as, “Be glad in the Lord”; “Be strong and of good courage; do not fear”; “Put your hope in the Lord; pour out your heart before him”; “Give thanks to the Lord”; “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”; “The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything,” etc.7

If we distrust such abundant and divine consolation, we would not believe it even if it were announced by not just one but many angels.”

17

“It is certainly true that even if our adversaries would kill all of us—if God so decreed—we should not remain unavenged. Before long, he who said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” Gen. 4:9 would challenge them; he would pursue them and make the world too small for them.”

 

18

“Let us be calmly confident in this cause which has to do with God’s word. Christ, whose cause it is, will staunchly defend and uphold it against the cunning of the vile devil and the tyranny of the wicked and deceitful world. For those who confess him before this evil and adulterous generation and must suffer much thereby, Christ in turn will confess them before his heavenly Father and requite them for their suffering with the delights of eternity Matt. 10:32. God himself says, I Samuel 2 :30, “He who honors me, I will honor.” Even if the waves of the sea are strong and huge billows rise up and roar furiously as though they would drown us, the Lord is still on high and has begun a kingdom as wide as the world which he now rules and has decreed that it shall endure. He is greater, yes, almighty, and he will accomplish it. Amen.

 

There is no other way—if we desire to possess Christ, to live and to rule with him in eternity, then suffering must first be endured.

Because this is so, why should we heed the rage and fury of such deadly powers, of whom Psalm 2 :4 says God in heaven laughs at them and holds them in derision. If the eternal and omnipotent emperor whose name is God and who lives to all eternity mocks and derides them, why should we fear them, or mourn and weep? Truly, God does not mock them in his own defense. He will always be the one dwelling in heaven no matter how they rage against him. But he mocks them to encourage us, so that we may take heart and bravely laugh at their onslaughts.

 

Therefore the only thing necessary for us to do is to believe and to pray most confidently in Christ’s name that God will give us strength, since he has erected his kingdom and this is his doing. It is he who without our help, counsel, thought, or effort has brought his kingdom forth and has advanced and preserved it to this day. I have no doubt that he will consummate it without our advice or assistance. Because “I know in whom I believe,” as St. Paul says II Tim. 1:12, I am certain that he will grant me more, do far more abundantly, and help and counsel us beyond all that we ask or think Eph. 3:20.

 

He is called the Lord who can and will help in a wonderful, glorious, and mighty way, particularly when the need is the greatest. We are meant to be human beings, not divine. So let us take comfort in his word and, trusting his promise, call upon him confidently for deliverance in time of distress and he will help.

That is all there is to it; we have no alternative; otherwise, eternal unrest would be our reward. May God save us from that for the sake of his dear Son, our Savior and eternal Priest, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

And Finally

 

19

"Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!"

 

 

 

 

7 Ps. 32:11; Deut. 31:6; Ps. 62:8; Ps. 107:1; John 10:33; Phil. 4:5–6.

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