Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Luther on 'the finest' of good works

"When people suffer bodily affliction or lose their property, reputation, friends, or anything else, do they believe they are still pleasing to God and, whether their suffering and vexation be great or small, that God is mercifully disposed toward them? In that situation, when all our senses and understanding tell us that God is angry, it is an art to trust God and to regard oneself as better cared for than it appears. . . .
"The afflictions that are endured in faith are likewise superior to any and all works done in faith, and suffering produces immeasurably greater benefits than such works can ever provide. Stronger still is the highest degree of faith, which is required when God torments the conscience not only with earthly afflictions but with death, hell, and sin while withholding divine grace and mercy, as if God would condemn and stay angry forever. Few people experience this, as David laments in the sixth Psalm . . . .
"At this point, to trust that God is gracious is the finest work of which any creature is capable."
~ Martin Luther, Treatise on Good Works

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