Friday, 29 March 2013

Luther on the Passion of Christ

"We do not preach about the passion [from the Latin verb, pati, meaning 'to suffer' - MH] in order for people to become ingrates; but rather that they recognize our heavenly Father’s great love for mankind and his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we again gain the Father’s and the Son’s favor. For he who believes with his whole heart that Christ suffered for him will not be a thankless rogue, but will with his whole being be grateful to Christ. If someone came to my rescue in an emergency, when death threatened by fire or water, I would have to be a wretch not to feel grateful toward him. We hold that person dear who gives or loans us ten guilden. What should our response be when God’s Son is given for our sakes and endures sin, death, and hell? Should we not respond, My Lord Jesus Christ suffered for me; therefore, in return, I will love him, gladly preach, hear, and believe his Word, be obedient to, and follow him. If we do not do this, we are a thousand times more malicious than the people of the world. They know nothing of this grace, but we know, and yet we are ungrateful, thoughtless, and forgetful of the fact that we, through Christ, are redeemed from sin and death. He says to us, Neither sin nor death shall harm you for I have obtained eternal salvation for you through my death. It is terrible for anyone to despise such a love!"
Martin Luther, House Postil, Good Friday, 1533

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