Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Faith of God's Elect

["]So the Gospel suffers slander, and from our school there arises heretics. Nevertheless, I do not for the sake of all this stop preaching the Gospel, even though Jews blaspheme, heathen persecute, and heretics arise. Nevertheless, I shall go on teaching because I know that the elect will accept it." With this word he looks into the tragedy which the Word of God suffers. They will fall by the wayside. "I am doing everything for the sake of the elect." We ought to be acting the same way. The papists slander us. They are stubborn and attack the manifest truth, and still they slander us. Moreover, those who have worked with us and planted with us are stirring up sects. The Anabaptists, the Sacramentarians, original sin (presumably Luther is referring to those who denied original sin, viz., certain of the Anabaptists who opposed infant Baptism on the ground that it was not necessary),  and many such fanatics have come. Thank God that He did not disclose to me that such heresies were to follow, for I would never have begun. We have this comfort: "We did not begin this for the sake of you who are stubborn nor for the sake of the Sacramentarians, and we shall not quit for your sakes. We began for the sake of those who are yet to come." Thus the Word of Christ is full of sects and stumbling blocks; that is, it stands in the midst of these things, and sects arise; but it prevails. The enemies of the Gospel throw up this objection to me: "What good is arising from your gospel? The people are degenerating into beasts. It is accomplishing nothing that is good. Wars and all sorts of evil are being provoked. Heresies and discord arise." Let it happen as it is happening. I preach the faith to the elect. Therefore let no one be offended if he sees that persecution follows the Word or that sects arise. "Not all have faith" (2 Thess. 3:2) is our consolation, as Paul certainly consoled himself with this word. If the others do not accept this faith, it is still present among the elect of God. He has said a great deal in a few words. Faith prevails against all works, efforts, the stumblings of the elect, persecutions, the cross, etc.
Martin Luther
Lectures on Titus

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