#72 Give Thanks, Be Married and Raise Up Children

You ought to thank the almighty, eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you can boast of the ordinance of God and the holy estate of matrimony. Keep it and raise up your children in the name of God. You don’t need to worry about whether you are condemned by God for it, nor will he judge you for the work’s sake; this I know for certain. Indeed, the fact that you are married, as long as you are a Christian, will be a great glory and honor to you on the last day. And now, and as long as you live, be confident in every hour that you are living in an estate which was instituted by God and is pleasing to him. Let pope and bishops who are opposed to it fulminate and growl and the more they boast of their vow and condemn the married state the more let us be proud of the ordinance of God in which we live, for this God and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, is and will remain an everlasting God, whereas the pope and his rabble will wither like the grass of the field or quickly vanish away like a bubble.

But it is also required that every Christian should remain in the estate and calling in which he has been placed by God and faithfully discharge its duties; then God adds felicity and blessing. May God grant us this and be praised to all eternity. Amen. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.366-367)

Abraham Endowed with All Virtues

Thus you see that the holy patriarch Abraham is endowed with all virtues.  For the sake of his nephew Lot he serves in utmost love those who were unworthy of his kindnesses. When he has achieved the victory, he is not eager to increase his wealth and power but has a heart that is free of ambition, greed, and other lusts; and he clings only to the promise of eternal life and to the Possessor of heaven and earth….

How much different the ungodly descendants are from their father! Abraham is content with eternal and spiritual benefits, and those that are material he proudly disdains; but they neither expect nor seek anything but what is material. They are so little concerned about the spiritual benefits that they even persecute and hate the preaching of the Gospel, because it is a doctrine that gives no instruction about wealth and power but only about the forgiveness of sins.

Thus Abraham is described to us here as full of faith and of hope concerning eternal life.  He makes use of this earthly victory as of a field or any other thing that serves only to exercise the body but does not give the heart cause for worry.  His heart he keeps attached to the mercy of God and to the promise of the future Seed, in accordance with the statement of the psalm (62:10): “If riches increase, set not your heart on them.”

He has a wife, servants, and maids; but he has all these as though he did not have them.  He is a true monk; for he truly despises the pleasures, glories, and riches of the world, and with his whole heart he is engaged in waiting for the promise concerning Christ.  For this alone he longs and wishes, but other things he rates far below this and almost disregards in comparison with this superb gift” (On Genesis 14:21-24, Luther’s Works, Vol. 2, p.397).


#71 Those Who Despised Marriage Will Be Judged

This assurance and boast is given us by this text: “Let the marriage bed be undefiled among all.” But this is followed by these words: “God will judge the immoral and adulterous.”

Here is pronounced the judgment that no whoremonger or adulterer will escape God’s judgment. Here our adversaries, the enemies of marriage, must stop, and it will be no help for them to boast and appeal to their vows; for they are the real, true adulterers, who prevent marriage and forbid people to be married. But when our Lord Jesus Christ comes on the last day to judge the living and the dead, God will not judge the married, for they are in his ordinance. Oh, what an unspeakable comfort that is for all married people in their estate! How confidently they can await the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For an apple tree or some other tree which bears its kinds of fruit will not be judged on the last day because it bears apples or is defiled by caterpillars and worms. No, for it was created by God for the purpose of bearing apples and fruit. So married people, who are wedded and bear children and live pure wedded lives, will not be judged because of this.

But the immoral and adulterous, who live outside of this state {of marriage} in defilement and impurity, such as the pope and cardinals, bishops, canons, monks, nuns, etc., who forbid marriage and themselves engage in all kinds of abominable lust and vileness and so woefully befoul the holy estate of matrimony, God will judge on that day. Then the true judgment will be made….(“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.365-366)

#70 Purity In Marriage is Marital Faithfulness and Duty

Those who bring forth children outside of marriage are parents too, it is true; but there is no honor in it. Therefore it is said, “Let the marriage bed be undefiled.” In other words, let it not be a whore’s bed or an adulterous bed….  St. Paul is … speaking of the purity which should obtain in the marriage estate, that married people should not be fornicators or adulterers and adulteresses. Whatever else occurs in the married state God covers up, for, after all, it is done in order to bring forth children and God approves of this, for it is his ordinance.

This kind of impurity {of fornication}, says God, I do not see {in marriage}. Here parents, fathers and mothers, or married people, are excused; God will not consider it impurity on account of inherited sin, nor will he consider it to be a sin. God will rather build his kingdom of heaven over this work and cover up everything that is unclean in it for the sake of his ordinance and creation.  This is the kind of purity St. Paul means when he says: “Let the marriage bed be undefiled.” He is not talking about cleanness in eating and drinking, but rather about marital faithfulness and duty, in which one trusts the other, keeps away from all other persons, and is content with his own spouse; this is what he calls purity. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.364-365)

#66 Marital Intercourse According To God’s Ordinance and Station

Here we have a sure and strong word of comfort: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.”  Hold fast to that, those of you who are married.

St. Augustine writes in one place concerning married people, that even if one of them is somewhat weak, etc., he should not be afraid of the sudden and infallible Day of the Lord; even if the Day of the Lord were to come in the hour when man and wife were having marital intercourse, they should not be afraid of it. Why is this so? Because even if the Lord comes in that hour he will find them in the ordinance and station in which they have been placed and installed by God.

Now, since this is so, nobody, no mandate of emperor, pope, or bishop, shall stand in my way and prevent me. I am content that I have a gracious God, who is pleased with this ordinance, and who also regards me and blesses and protects me. Who made them so bold and who commanded them to tear down this glorious ordinance of God?… (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.362-363)

#69 Living Together Outside of Marriage is Fornication

Now we know what the marriage estate is, namely, the creation and ordinance of God, and what is essential to it, namely, a man and a wife. Therefore it should also be considered pure by all men. And if the pope were a Christian, he, too, would hold the marriage estate to be holy and pure. But since he is not a Christian, but the Antichrist and the devil himself, he despises holy matrimony and considers it unclean. But God, who ordained and appointed and blessed the marriage estate, honors marriage. Therefore, we, who are Christians and children of God through faith in Christ, should also honor, uphold, cherish, and esteem the marriage estate. And it should also be kept pure by all; which means that no whore nor adulterer should be found among you, but rather each of you should have his own wife. Moreover, it was for the sake of the marriage estate that God gave us the fourth commandment and made it the first commandment following the first table, thereby declaring that he wants marriage to be upheld and honored, for he says, “Honor your father and your mother, etc.” [Exod. 20:12]. Why should I honor father and mother; after all they lead a carnal life? No, the life father and mother lead is an honorable and godly life. Just as it would be a dishonor for you, if you were born of a whore out of wedlock, so it would be a dishonor if parents lived together unmarried. Therefore to be married is honorable and pleasing to God. But if for a time you have lived outside of this state in concubinage and led a life of fornication, ah, then stop it and repent, enter into marriage and henceforth live a married and godly life. Then you will be doing the right and Christian thing. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.364)

#68 Raising Up Children A More Noble Work

The marriage estate is God’s ordinance and we shall stick to this no matter whether they hate and persecute us and will neither regard nor listen to us; this bothers us not at all. We have God; he regards us, along with all the angels and heavenly hosts, he also defends us against all the darts of the devil and our adversaries.

Then, if our dear God and Father in heaven grants you children, nurture and care for them, raise them up in the discipline, fear, and admonition of the Lord. Then you will be doing right and performing better and nobler good works than all the monks and nuns; then you will be living in God’s vocation and ordinance and they contrary to God’s vocation and ordinance. Because I am certain that I have a gracious God, who regards me, nourishes me, and protects me, I do not care that the louse in Rome, the pope, and his lice, the cardinals and bishops, monks and nuns, do not regard or respect me. I pay no attention to it; I am content that God, my dear Father, sees me and has regard for me.

Therefore we also lead brides and grooms to the church, in order that they may publicly confess that they are entering into the holy estate of matrimony in accord with God’s ordinance, that they do not intend to live in concubinage, and they are blessed, and they have no doubt that they are blessed by God. But they must take care that they remain blessed and lead their married life as married persons should, God-fearingly, purely, and unblemished, then they will remain blessed. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.363-364)

#65 The Married Have God’s Blessing and Keeping

Here it is written: “God will judge the immoral and adulterous.”  It is not written that God will judge and condemn the married, but rather the whoremongers and adulterers. For if God were to condemn and judge the married people, he would have to condemn himself. But God does not do this, but rather is well pleased with married people, as those who live and walk in his ordinance and creation….

Therefore, those who are married should be cheerful and confident and grateful to God that they are in an estate which has been ordained and blessed by God, of sure hope and assurance that God will keep his ordinance and blessing, regardless of whether it annoys the devil, the pope in Rome, and therefore prompts them to condemn this estate….

I say this for the comfort of all those who are in the married state, that they may be emboldened and encouraged. If all of you who are married are not rich, as not all of you can be rich, then be satisfied with what you have, and let it be your strong consolation that you have been married in accord with divine ordinance, and be assured that God will keep watch over this his ordinance and blessing. Nor do we desire to prevent or force anybody in this matter.  (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.361-362)

#64 Happy And Content With God’s Married Estate

Here let the pope, cardinals, monks, nuns, and priests pull a sour face; what do we care about that? If they will not look at us with friendly and pure eyes, then let them look at the whorehouses and the impure, filthy, and befouled cloisters. We are content to know that we are esteemed by God and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and rules all things, the one who ordained the marriage estate and placed us in it and watches over this estate until the last day. Because I know this and most certainly believe it, I am happy and confident, and I live in the holy ordinance of marriage with a good conscience and a happy mind. For here God says to the man: You are my man; and to the woman: You are my woman. And because I know that God speaks so to me, I also know that all the angels speak so to me, and love me and respect me. I also know that the sun, moon, and all the stars look upon me and minister to me with their light and influence, even though this terribly vexes the devil with his scales, the popes, cardinals, and monks, who also are the devil’s. I don’t care a snap for them; even though they were a thousand against one, I don’t care. If they don’t want to regard me or listen to me, then in the devil’s name let them take a look in Morolf’s looking glass. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.360-361)

#63 Man Created His Own Not So “Holy Estates”

The pope and his cardinals, monks, nuns, and priests have tried to improve things and ordain a holy estate in which they might live in holiness and chastity. But how holy, pure, and chaste the lives of popes, cardinals, bishops, monks, priests, and nuns have been is so apparent that the sun, moon, and stars have cried out against it. Pigsties are nasty, dirty places, but they are clean and pure compared with the cloisters; for they have been leading such a chaste and pure life in the cloisters that one cannot very well even speak of it. Why, then, did this happen? Because they tore down and despised God’s holy ordinance of the estate of matrimony and they were not worthy to enter into marriage. But here those who have entered into holy matrimony in accord with God’s ordinance should love and esteem this saying of St. Paul:

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, etc

They should also pride themselves upon and comfort themselves with the fact that they are married; for here a man can say: I thank God that I have been created a man by God; or a woman: I thank God that I have been created a woman; and that we have also been placed by God in the holy estate of marriage in order to bring forth children according to his blessing and will. This honor, which those who are married have, is far greater. Therefore, nobody should hate or condemn this estate and ordinance of God, as the pope and his followers do, but rather highly exalt it and love and esteem it. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545” (Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.359-360)