Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day 2012

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther, preaching on the text of John 20:11-18, delivered on April 21, 1530:
We are all saints, and cursed is he who does not want to call himself a saint. You are far saintlier than your names - Hans or Kunz - indicate. However, you do owe this not to yourself but to the will of God, who would be your Father. To call yourself a saint is, therefore, no presumption but an act of gratitude and a confession of God's blessings. He who does not consider Baptism and God's Word,
which you have in your heart, holy, blasphemes God very greatly. Since, then, God sanctifies you in Baptism and adorns you with His holy Word, you must surely be holy by grace. Only beware of the ambition to make yourself holy by your own works and then to step before God and teach Him holiness too. He will cast you into hell as a blasphemer. He wants to sanctify you and will have no directions about sanctification from you. Be sure to give this some thought. You may call yourself rich when you have many thousand gulden, and you lie shamefully if you say: Oh, I am a poor beggar! Far greater is the wrong you commit by not wanting to call yourself holy as a result of the holiness which God has made your own. Therefore you may well say: To be sure, according to my first birth, I belong to the devil; but according to the new birth, I, sanctified by God's Word and work, am a sinner no more; now I am in heaven. Now you may glory greatly in the possession of a seat in heaven beside St. Peter. Be bold to do this. You still have much to learn about this matter. So do I - until I drop into my grave.

Ewald M. Plass, compiler, What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, (St. Louis: CPH, 1959) §3979, 1247.

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