#62- The Church Is Concerned With Cleansing Us From Sin

“On the other hand, if you hear people preaching about Christ and treating and expounding His Word, Baptism, His suffering, and His resurrection, then you can say: ‘Here I am listening to the true Christian Church. For here is the Holy Spirit, who teaches and brings to remembrance what Christ said, not human prattle about food, drink, and clothing. For how do such things concern the church?  Or why should they require the Holy Spirit? Every father can establish such rules in his house for his servants. What is there to prevent a heathen who has heard nothing about Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the church from instituting ordinances with reference to the consumption of fish or meat on such and such a day, the celebration of holidays, the observance of fasts, or the wearing of a red, brown, black, or gray garb? What knowledge or revelation from the Holy Spirit is necessary to prescribe that a cardinal must sit above a bishop, a bishop above a prince, etc.? Any heathen or non-Christian can do that. For God endowed man with reason with which to reign on earth; that is, it should be competent to establish laws and ordinances touching man’s physical life, his eating, drinking, and clothing, and to maintain external discipline and respectable conduct.

Such authority is not restricted to Christians, but it pertains most of all to the heathen and the Turks. For in our capacity as Christians we are not concerned with this, and the office of the Holy Spirit does not deal with it at all. He is interested in other matters, namely, to cleanse us from sin, to deliver us from death, to free us from the devil, to extinguish the fire of hell, and to make us holy, living, and eternal children of God. This is not accomplished with cowls, tonsures, and the eating of fish or meat; to attain this we must give ear to the words and message of Christ, who shed His blood and died for us”  (Luther’s Works, v. 24, p. 174-175).

Posted in 2017 Reformation Quotes.