#30- If You Wish To Remain In Your Sin, That Is Not Faith

“Third. Direct the examination also to your outward life and ask yourself whether you are showing love to your neighbor and are serving him. If you do not find these evidences of faith within yourself, if you are living the same as before, still packed full of unfaithfulness, hatred, envy, wrath, and unbelief, then, dear friend, by all means stay away from the sacrament until you have become a different person. Don’t let yourself be driven to it by crowd or custom or the ordinance of the pope. Heavens, if this idea were really put across, it would mean that where thousands come to the sacrament now, scarcely hundreds would come. In this way we would diminish the abominable sins with which the pope has flooded the world through his hellish ordinance, and so we would at last become again a group of real Christians, whereas at present we are almost completely pagan and only Christian in name. Then we should be able to do what is now impossible for us, namely, separate from our number those in whom we see by their works that they have neither faith nor love.

Alas, we are still far from Jerusalem; we have scarcely begun to break out of our captivity in Babylon, and yet we want to act as if we had already arrived at home. Everyone wants to be called Christian, and we have to permit it; but then they do not want to exercise faith and love. Creating sects does not help matters. So there is nothing else to do but to preach the gospel and to keep people away from the sacrament and all external rites until they feel and show themselves to be Christians and of their own accord press forward first to faith, to love, and then to the external sacrament and things like that” (Luther’s Works, v.36 p.264-265).

Posted in 2017 Reformation Quotes.