This is for all you “smarty pants’s out there.
Today is Ash Wednesday and we enter the season of Lent. I am going to be preaching on 2 Peter 1 for Lent and went looking for quotes from Luther to spice things up. This is an important sermon of Luther. His papal opponents had rejected the Biblical gospel that we are justified by faith alone, in part on the grounds of 1 Co. 13:2 (“If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”) and 1 Co. 13:13 (“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”). His opponents stated that “faith alone” does not justify, but rather that “faith formed by love,” justifies. In other words, they claimed that love must be added to faith if faith is to justify and save. In this sermon, Luther responds to this false teaching of his opponents, as well as beautifully describes what Christian love is. In another place Luther says this – Now it is evident that the Gospel teaches nothing but the foregoing two things, Christ and his example and two kinds of good works, the one belonging to Christ by which we are saved through faith, the other belonging to us by which our neighbor receives help. Whosoever therefore teaches any thing different from the Gospel leads people astray; and whosoever does not teach the Gospel in these two parts, leads people all the more astray and is worse than the former who teaches without the Gospel, because he abuses and corrupts God’s Word, as St. Paul complains concerning some. 2 Cor. 2:
Since this a mercy blog and we are entering Lent today – here is a portion of Luther’s Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13
PAUL’S PRAISE OF CHRISTIAN LOVE.
Paul’s purpose in this chapter is to silence and humble haughty Christians, particularly teachers and preachers. The Gospel gives much knowledge of God and of Christ, and conveys many wonderful gifts, as Paul recounts in Romans 12 and in First Corinthians 12. He tells us some have the gift of speaking, some of teaching, some of Scripture exposition; others of ruling; and so on. With Christians are great riches of spiritual knowledge, great treasures in the way of spiritual gifts. Manifest to all is the meaning of God, Christ, conscience, the present and the future life, and similar things. But there are to be found few indeed who make the right use of such gifts and knowledge; who humble themselves to serve others, according to the dictates of love. Each seeks his own honor and advantage, desiring to gain preferment and precedence over others.
We see today how the Gospel has given to men knowledge beyond anything known in the world before, and has bestowed upon them new capabilities. Various gifts have been showered upon and distributed among them which have redounded to their honor. But they go on unheeding. No one takes thought how he may in Christian love serve his fellow-men to their profit. Each seeks for himself glory and honor, advantage and wealth. Could one bring about for himself the distinction of being the sole individual learned and powerful in the Gospel, all others to be insignificant and useless, he would willingly do it; he would be glad could he alone be regarded as Mister Smart. At the same time he affects deep humility, great self-abasement, and preaches of love and faith. But he would take it hard had he, in practice, to touch with his little finger what he preaches. This explains why the world is so filled with fanatics and schismatics, and why every man would master and outrank all others. Such as these are haughtier than those that taught them. Paul here attacks these vainglorious spirits, and judges them to be wholly insignificant, though their knowledge may be great and their gifts even greater, unless they should humble themselves and use their gifts in the service of others.
To these coarse and mean people he addresses himself with a multitude of words and a lengthy discourse, a subject he elsewhere disposes of in a few words; for instance, where he says (Phil 2, 3-4), “In lowliness of mind each counting others better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” By way of illustration, he would pass sentence upon himself should he be thus blameworthy; this more forcibly to warn others who fall far short of his standing. He says,
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.” ………………………………
We will have portions of this sermon in the next days and weeks.