Roman Sentences

When I was a junior in High School I went to the library everyday during lunch period and studied and outlined this book; thirty-five years later I can say I understand it much more today because of God's faithfulness in leading me to Luther's writings. Romans is THE foundational book of the New Testament, if you want to understand sound doctrine. Of course, to some, "doctrine" sounds dull and boring; but sound doctrine is anything but dull and boring because sound instruction in the Word is nothing more than learning the depth of sinfulness and learning What takes away sin.

Christ helping me, I am compiling Luther's commentary on Romans for your benefit; it is my sincere hope, expectation and prayer that you will remain in the true and genuine faith. This should be read most carefully because it is my intention to distill Luther so that this offering will not discourage you from reading and studying it. So each sentence will be quite burdened with meaningful nutrition for the mind and soul. Properly read, each line should be like a dagger piercing your very heart and poking light into your mind, which is where the New Man has been re-created. Whoever does not want his mind to be renewed and redone does not want Christ and only proves he is a slave to the Old Adam.

Each line should lay you low, either because you see your profanness or because you see your Lord's provision. I implore you to read carefully, allowing time for proper consideration and meditation. I would think this tool could serve as a Christian Life Manual for you which you could use for the rest of your life to keep you properly connected to Christ and His Word. I very much look forward to Tim's presenting this to us sometime in the next year or so.

The whole purpose and intention of the Apostle in this epistle is to break down all our own so-called righteousness and wisdom, to blow up and magnify sin and foolish practices, and to show that only Christ and His righteousness are needed.

I am going to "compile" this blessing in a single-sentence format: While the sentences will be designed to be provocative, I will neither exaggerate nor take away from the essential meaning of the text. It is my hope that this compilation of Luther's thought on Paul's inspiration will be a quick and easy reference to help keep each of you on the true and genuine pathway of salvation. As Tim has emphasized as he has taken us through Galatians, losing faith is an easy thing to do; it is easy to become complacent and think you know more about faith than you really do; these sentences will help jolt you back into the reality of faith.

I, in the sight of God and with the Holy Spirit at my right hand, certify that there is no error in doctrine and teaching in these sentences. I will not regularly provide chapter and verse reference-I leave it to the student to investigate anything that needs to be further investigated and reference; don't be lazy.

Chapter One

1. The express purpose of Romans is to dig out from the human heart and destroy the idea that what one does and does not do grants ANY STANDING whatsoever with God—whether it be in regard to salvation or to being a "better Christian."
2. When you feel good about the good you do you have blasphemed true Goodness—Christ.
3. The proud always fight against the righteousness of God.
4. All hypocrites claim to be wise, but become fools in their wisdom. Billy Graham and George Bush claim to be spiritually wise, but will suffer as fools forever in hell.
5. Inner self-satisfaction takes one straight to hell.
6. God's Word does this: "To pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow" (Jeremiah 1:10). People will not consider and submit to Luther because they do not want their wisdom and knowledge and their ensuing self-satisfaction to be overthrown.
7. God does not want to redeem us through our own righteousness that comes from us and grows in us, but through one that comes completely from the outside—external to us. This is why it is SO important that we see salvation as coming through water, bread and wine, as in fact it does.
8. If you believe you have made a decision for Christ, then you have a righteousness that has come from within your self, and is therefore a righteousness that takes you away from the righteousness of Christ.
9. It is erroneous to look at salvation as being the journey from faults to virtues; rather, it should be viewed as being a journey from virtues to grace in Christ.
10. Christ wants our whole disposition to be so stripped down that we are unafraid of being embarrassed for our faults and also do not delight in the glory and vain joys of our virtues.
11. A true Christian must have no glory of his own and must to such an extent be stripped of everything he calls his own that in honor and in dishonor he can always remain the same.
12. We must wait for the naked mercy of God, who will reckon us righteous and wise, which will not happen if we anticipate God.
13. Humility is the theme of all Scripture.
14. While many give up profanity for Christ, very few give up their inner devotion to Christ; therefore, few are saved.
15. People always wish and hope that their own works will be accepted and rewarded by God.
16. In chapter nine and verse sixteen, Paul will say, "It depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy."
17. Paul was a truly faithful minister; he was not soft with people for ulterior motives, nor was he harsh with people, demonstrating he was not under the power of uncontrolled wrath.
18. A "soft" parent is just as abusive as a "harsh" parent. In fact, the soft parent, or pastor, may be even more evil and controlling than the harsh one.
19. A minister is the servant of Jesus Christ. Paul was a minister of Christ; Luther was; Billy Sunday, Bob Jones, and my brother are not.
20. Hirelings are interested in their sheep only insofar as they see in them the opportunity to gain honor, gold, and pleasure.
21. Only a fool rushes into the ministry to lead people according to their own thinking and away from the truth of God; but, as Paul stated, "Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools."
22. God promised and ordained, long ago, not only that the Gospel would come but also that Paul would be It's chief Expounder.
23. Christ, Who was before all, and created everything, now has a beginning Himself and has been made.
24. This God is the Son of David, and this Man is the Son of God.
25. Prayer is at its best when one prays for the universal salvation of all, not for one's own only but for everybody's.
26. Only the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
27. This same Gospel attests that God is angry, though at this time He is postponing punishment.
28. "To the poor the Gospel is preached" (Luke 7:22).
29. You cannot love this world and love God.
30. Most despise the lowliness and humble appearance of the Word.
31. "The natural man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God. For they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them" (I Cor. 2:14).
32. Any person who does not believe that water, wine and bread save us is a "natural man" and void of the Spirit and truth of God.
33. A Christian cannot enjoy from his heart the joy that power brings—whether it is power coming from looks, money, position, etc.
34. The righteousness of God is completely from faith, but in such a way that through its development it does not make its appearance but becomes a clearer faith according to that expression in 2 Cor. 3:18: "We are being changed from one degree of glory to another."
35. From the faith of those who confess with their mouth to the faith of those who are obedient.
36. God has clearly revealed essential truth; man refuses to accept it.
37. The apostle directs his chief attack against the powerful and wise of this world because if they have been humbled, their followers and the uneducated will also easily be humbled.
38. Man's error is this: he does not worship the divinity he clearly sees untouched, but changes and adjusts it to their desires and needs.
39. People measure God by the blessings they receive.
40. Men do not worship God, but a figment of their own imagination.
41. Look into the eyes of any person who does not believe the truth about Communion and hear what Paul says about them: "You have a base mind."
42. The levels of perdition are: Ingratitude which flows from self-satisfaction; Vanity which is a feasting on oneself; blindness, when one is bereft of truth in his heart and thoughts; and finally the error over against God—this leads directly to idolatry and the abyss of hell.
43. The spiritually blind ignore their blindness by focusing on their pious intentions, thus fashioning a gracious god for themselves. So convenient.
44. God gives these people up to the lusts of their hearts—this is a permission and a commission from God.
45. God withdraws his helping hand from them and deserts him, and he is no longer able to resist the will of Satan.
46. This giving up by God to sin is for the sake of penalty and punishment.
47. God uses sin, which He hates, to openly disgrace.
48. It is hurtful to be subjected to such vile sins.
49. It is more shameful to lie in vile sin than in any other kind of punishment whatsoever.
50. There is no sin more vile than not believing the Word: THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD.
51. God hates sin, yet because He cannot bring about the shame He wills unless sin is committed, He wills that man should commit sin so that that shame may come over him.
52. It is common for man to turn the truth into a lie: saying that "is" means "signifies" is turning the truth of God into a lie, yet look at how they do this with such pious intentions.
53. What is more just than that those who do not want the glory of God should suffer shame, not only in their hearts (idolatry) but also in their bodies.
54. All idolaters do not commit all sins; some have done this and others that.
55. Essentially, all who turn truth into a lie commit all sins: God views them all as accomplices and equals.
56. Either the flesh or the spirit will be afire.
57. Where the flame of the spirit is burning, the flesh soon cools off and becomes cold, and vice versa.
58. Sexual fantasies, flirting and wearing provocative clothing are examples of uncleanness.
59. Very, very few people are willing to give to God so much honor that he puts His exceedingly great majesty above his own judgments and understanding.
60. Mankind just does not see fit to acknowledge God.
61. Unrighteousness is the sin of unbelief, the lack of righteousness that comes from faith.
62. Anyone who does not believe the truth about baptism and communion is filled with unrighteousness—no matter how much they try to direct this phrase to homosexuals and abortionists.
63. Iniquity is the sin of self-righteousness, which man chooses for himself in his foolish zeal.
64. Christ said, "Depart from Me, you that work iniquity." This is what Christ will tell my brother and mother-in-law, unless they repent of their disobedience.
65. Uprightness consists in neglecting the things which seem right to you and doing what you ought to do.
66. Goodness is the inclination of the mind to do good, even though it may be hindered by wrongs inflicted on it.
67. God uses evil for the purposes of good.
68. The fool says, "I could be good if I could live in good company."
69. "And you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil" (Luke 6:35).
70. "The fruit of the Spirit is goodness and kindness" (Galatians 5:22).
71. Wickedness is when a person has opportunity to do good but intentionally does not do it.
72. The dissolute person is one who is coarse in word and does whatever comes to his mind.
73. The whisperer sows discord among those who live in harmony.
74. A detractor undermines the good reputation of another person.
75. If only a person would use his understanding beyond what his senses show him, he could easily and clearly recognize God.
76. Virtually all men treat God as a fool treats gold --who seeks gold merely to see it rather than to possess it.
77. The sin of omission leads by natural inclination to the sin of commission.
78. A person who turns away from the Creator, of necessity, turns to the creature.
79. Man does not esteem God worthy of his attention.
Chapter Two
80. The just person is the first to accuse himself in heart, word, and deed.
81. The unjust person is always the first to accuse and judge his neighbor, at least in his heart.
82. The just person is always endeavoring to see his own evil works and to overlook those of others.
83. The just person anticipates God's judgment; the unjust person anticipates God's goodness.
84. "The perverse are hard to correct" (Eccl. 1:15).
85. It is amazing that one conceited person can criticize another conceited person; by so doing they believe they will escape and transcend judgment.
86. We are conveniently blind to our own mistakes.
87. The hypocrite thinks he is righteous just because he does not do quite all the things other people are doing.
88. Hypocrites do the works of the Law from fear of punishment or hope of reward, not for love of righteousness.
89. With their will they would want to do something different if they could get by with it without punishment—their will is guilty.
90. No one has a right to judge another person unless he wants to judge himself.
91. The apostle wants to call us back to understand ourselves—the depth of our sinfulness.
92. There are three good gifts of God given to all sinners:
            Goodness—abundant physical and spiritual gifts
            Patience—bearing with our ingratitude
            Long-suffering—His extremely kind delay of punishment
93. We are storing up wrath for ourselves.
94. Divine wrath compensates for slowness of vengeance by means of severity of punishment.
95. A hardened heart despises all these gifts.
96. Those who do not believe the truth about Communion have a stubborn insistence on their own holiness.
97. "Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him" (Prov. 26:12)
98. God intends for His kindness to bring about repentance.
99. The righteous person understands that even the severity of God is good for his salvation, for it breaks him down and heals him.
100. "The Lord kills and brings to life" (II Sam. 2:6).
101. Having a difficult time trying to understand how God can save us through water, wine and bread is a death—His killing us. But the resurrection from the dead is so very sweet.
102. The "day of wrath" is coming and the ungodly will be brought to eternal shame.
103. In the meantime, we must be patient in well-doing.
104. No work can be good when patience is lacking.
105. When our work is immediately attacked, then let us be of good cheer and firmly trust that it is well-pleasing to God.
106. What is of God must be crucified in the world.
107. God's work leads to the cross—shameful suffering.
108. "I did not begin this work for your sake, dear praise, therefore I shall not complete it for your sake."
109. Human virtue grows through praise, but Christian virtue grows when it is reproached.
110. The selfishly ambitious will have wrath and indignation heaped upon them—eternally.
111. Everyone, by virtue of birth, understands, "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them," and thus will be judged by the very law of their own hearts.
112. Man shows favoritism to those who give a good impression and showing externally—God does not, but He sees the heart.
113. The spiritually conceited person presumes that God favors them because of their holy life and wisdom.
114. If we do to others what we want them to do to us, and we do wish for ourselves only what is good, glorious, and great, then let us wish this first for God—a personal will, judgment, glory, and all other things that are God's, which we have arrogated to ourselves in alliance with Lucifer.
115. Also, let us give them to our neighbor whom we generally try to surpass. Let them too, be our superiors.
116. You want true perfection? Make the will of others your own will.
117. The things which are desired become more enticing when they are forbidden.
118. God knows that the self-called holy person would prefer to sin.
119. "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall perish" Matt. 5:20.
120. No matter how much works may be done, the will still lies dead.
121. A monkey can hear God's Word and be taught to pick out a few things to do and leave undone.
122. A "doer" of God's Word is one who has the grace to conquer his evil will.
123. The conscience stings and murmurs: when a person has done evil and quiets down when it has done good.
124. "The consciousness of a well-spent life is a most pleasant remembrance" is the motto of the hypocrite.
125. Our own inner thoughts will testify against us before God. Down deep we admit to ourselves what we don't admit to anyone else; but God knows these thoughts very well.
126. A bad conscience proves that the work of the Law is written on each person's heart.
127. When God exposes our innermost thoughts, there will be no possibility to flee further inside and to a more private place.
128. It is as if God will say: "See, it's not I who am judging you, but I merely agree with your own judgment about yourself."
129. A Christian truly flees to Christ; a hypocrite quickly flees to his works, excuses and defenses.
130. "God is greater than our heart" (our innermost thoughts) I John 3:20.
131. False teachers think they truly teach, but they refuse to learn that the works of the Law must be done with a willing and pure heart.
132. Jannie's mother, an exceedingly virtuous person, cannot choke out the words, the truth, that she does her works to be seen of men and to keep your conscience from erupting too much.
133. "They do all their deeds to be seen by men" (Matt. 23:5).
134. The hypocrite does not openly worship idols, but he commits sacrilege in his heart. How? By perverting the Word and giving It a false meaning and thus casting and forming a spiritual idol.
135. They commit sacrilege in will and desire, even if not in act.
136. People want to be Christians outwardly while ignoring and disguising inner conflict and corrosion.
137. The righteous person is content with praise from God, not men.
138. Inner righteousness wins praise from God and rebuke and persecution from people.
139. External righteousness wins praise from people, but rebuke from God.
140. He who has not yet escaped the praise of men and has not suffered shame, rebuke, and persecution in his actions has not yet reached complete righteousness.
141. False teachers teach the letter without the Spirit.
142. When the heart is circumcised the will is pure, that is, free of all forbidden desires. This is not achieved through the letter which teaches and threatens, but through the Spirit who helps and heals.
143. The hypocrite is whitewashed death.
144. The hypocrite blasphemes God's name, no matter how much they cry, "To God be the glory!"
Chapter Three
145. The honorable and useful purpose of the Jews is that the Word was given through them.
146. Circumcision was spiritually useful and beneficial because within it the promises of God were believed and awaited.
147. The Jews want the act of circumcision to be profitable just because of the act, just as Catholics want Communion to be profitable by the very act of partaking. This is magical thinking.
148. The fact that very few believe God's Word while most pervert God's work (circumcision and communion), does not nullify the faithfulness of God.
149. Paul states that, if need be, let every man be a liar that God may be true!
150. The Flood was coming and the Ark was going to be built even though only EIGHT people believed.
151. Christ is a sign: a sign of rising for a few; a sign that is spoken against for many. (Luke 2:34)
152. For anyone who does not believe that Baptism saves, Christ is a sign of eternal damnation.
153. These people judge Christ and His way of doing things according to their own abundant wisdom.
154. Paul quotes what is maybe the greatest verse in the Old Testament: "THAT THOU MIGHTEST BE JUSTIFIED IN THY WORDS, AND MIGHTEST PREVAIL WHEN THOU ART JUDGED." (Psalm 51:4)
155. God is justified when we confess our absolute sinfulness—this is the context wherein David uttered these words.
156. My brother and Jannie's mother do not believe they are sinners—not really. But God will prevail.
157. My brother and Jannie's mother are self-righteous: that is, they inwardly think they are not that bad in the sight of God; they think they measure up; they think they have something to offer God.
158. He who humbly repudiates his own righteousness and confesses that he is a sinner before God truly glorifies God, proclaiming that He alone is righteous.
159. ONLY GOD IS RIGHTEOUS. Any self-praise, self importantance, self exaltation, self-will, selfishness, self-absorption, and false self-denial proves we violate the righteous of God.
160. It is not our unrighteousness, which God forever hates as the enemy of His own glory, but it is the recognition and confession of our own unrighteousness which glorifies God and commends us to Him, for this proves the necessity and saving nature of His righteousness.
161. My brother and Jannie's mother only say they want the righteousness of God, when in fact they are in love with their own righteousness.
162. We must be most careful lest our righteousness disparage the righteousness of God.
163. The truthfulness of God is not glorified because I am a liar, but because I recognize that I am a liar and cease being one by embracing the truth which comes from God.
164. The ungodly seem quite healthy to themselves and by their works thumb their noses up at the Good Doctor.
165. God is truthful; man is deceitful.
166. When the insolent hear the truth of God, they say things like, "Let us do evil that good may come!" This would be like a person who did not believe that salvation comes through the Table saying, "Well, let's eat a whole loaf and drink wine until we are drunk and be really saved."
167. The progenitors of the Protestant churches of today called Luther's God "a baked god."
168. In their own eyes they understand and seek God, yet because they are pleased with their own wisdom and righteousness, it really is not so in the eyes of God.
169. The Jews stoned and killed (Matt. 23:37) God's prophets just as today I am stoned and killed with rocks of indifference.
170. God in His words cannot be wise, righteous, truthful, strong and good unless we believe Him and submit to Him by confessing that we are foolish, unrighteous, liars, weak and evil.
171. No one can become spiritually enriched unless he is a spiritual pauper—BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT.
172. He who is sated with his own truth and wisdom is incapable of receiving the truth and wisdom of God, which can only be received in an empty and destitute heart.
173. My brother and Jannie's mother are on their way to hell at this very moment because they trust their own understanding of salvation and will not submit to the righteous of God. "Lean not unto thy own understanding."
174. If the "just shall live by faith," why are "the many" so hyped up on works?
175. By faith alone we must believe that we are sinners, for it is not manifest to us, indeed, we often do not seem to ourselves to be aware of the fact.
176. You must earnestly consider the fact that it is not enough to confess with the mouth that you are a sinner, unrighteous, liar, and fool. For what is easier, especially when you are at peace and live without temptation? But when you have confessed with your mouth that you are such a person, then you must also earnestly feel the same way about yourself in your heart, and you must conduct yourself in this manner in every act and in your entire life. For this reason he is a very rare man who confesses and believes he is a sinner.
177. How are you to confess that you are a sinner when you are unwilling to endure even a word of criticism against yourself, your actions, or your ideas.
178. When the hypocrite hears himself criticized he wears everyone out by complaining of the injury which he alone of all people has suffered.
179. The hypocrite confesses he is a sinner but is willing to do and to suffer nothing which befits a sinner but only that which is proper for a righteous man and a saint.
180. What is it to be a sinner if not to be worthy of all punishment and trouble?
181. To confess with one's mouth sin but to be unwilling to act like a sinner, this is hypocrisy and lying.
182. If you confess that you are a sinner, you must take punishments, injuries, and ignominy as your own and your rightful possessions.
183. The hypocrite says, or at least thinks in his heart, "Why me? What have I done to deserve this?"
184. When God tries to prove to you that you are a sinner, don't resist Him, contradict and oppose Him.
185. "For those who are factious and do not obey the truth but obey wickedness," (Romans 2:8).
186. Bob Jones University is factious and therefore obeys wickedness, no matter if every person on the campus looks and acts more like a Christian than any of us.
187. A true sinner says: "Indeed, I surely deserve these things, I have been justly treated, I freely admit that I am truly a sinner, so that all You say about me is just and true—I will not call You a liar."
188. This is simply saying: "Against Thee have I sinned and done that which is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou are justified in Thy words," (Psalm 51:4)
189. It is difficult to be a sinner because no one is eager to be contradicted in his thinking, reproved in his actions, or despised in his wisdom.
190. The true sinner says, "Teach me differently, I beg You, and I will gladly do differently," if he would in this way always avoid contention, how blessed he would be!
191. The force necessary to bring about true spiritual change lies hidden in our mind or in our self-estimation and our opinion of ourselves.
192. Every statement in Scripture and every action of God has the purpose of changing this mind: this is the "evil eye" in Matt. 20:15).
193. To become a sinner is to destroy this way of thinking by which we believe tenaciously that we are living, speaking, and acting in a good, pious, and righteous way, and to adopt another mode of thought (which comes from God) whereby we believe from the heart that we are sinners.
194. "He who does these things shall never be moved" (Psalm 15:5).
195. All men are under the power of sin, Romans 3:9.
196. The hypocrite denies being under sin's influence by not admitting the truth within himself that what he does he does out of fear of punishment or of love, hope of reward, or of love for money, glory, or some other material consideration.
197. If the hypocrite were permitted to act with impunity or if he knew that glory and peace would not come to him, he would rather omit doing good and do evil, just like the others.
198. The hypocrite desires to do things which are actually contrary to his actions, but is not honest enough to admit this.
199. The good works of every so-called friend and disobedient family member are doubly evil, first, because they are not performed out of a good will, second, because they are established and defended as good works by a new pride.
200. "None is righteous." We so rarely analyze ourselves deeply enough to recognize this weakness in our will, or rather, this disease.
201. This disease is so subtle that it cannot be fully managed even by very spiritual men.
202. Those who are truly righteous not only sigh and plead for the grace of God because they see that they have an evil inclination, but also because they see that they can never understand fully how deep is the evil of their will and how far it extends, they believe that they are always sinners, as if the depth of their evil will were infinite.
203. The Christian humbles himself, pleads, and cries, until at last he is perfectly cleansed—which takes place in death.
204. Who knows or who can know, even if it seems to him that he is doing good and avoiding evil in a proper frame of mind, whether it really is so, since God alone will be the judge of this and since we cannot judge ourselves in this respect, according to Paul—I Cor. 4:5).
205. Many are so confident that they already have the grace of God that they neglect to search the secrets of their own hearts, and they daily grow colder and colder.
206. If you want to make spiritual progress you must humble yourself and constantly seek the grace of God with pitiful groans.
207. Man cannot but seek his own advantages and love himself above all things.
208. None is righteous.
209. No one understands.
210. No one seeks God.
211. Many, because of excess and overdoing, are too righteous, too understanding, and too much given to seeking, so that they are incorrigible in their minds.
212. A proper understanding of the Word is faith itself.
213. The condition of this life is not that of having but of seeking God.
214. "Seek His presence continually," (Psalm 105:4).
215. It is not he who begins and seeks, but "he who endures" and keeps seeking "unto the end will be saved" (Matt. 10:22).
216. He who does not renew his quest loses what he has found.
217. "When we cease wishing to become better, we cease to be good."
218. All have turned aside.
219. Together they have become useless.
220. There is none who does good, there is not even one.
221. Their throat is an open grave.
222. Their tongues keep deceit.
223. Our mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
224. Our feet are swift to shed blood.
225. Destruction and misery are in their paths.
226. The path of peace they have not known.
227. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
228. Some turn to the left—toward riches; some turn to the right—their own righteousness.
229. Our relatives are vain and pursue unprofitable things.
230. We become like the things we love.
231. To become vain is to lose the truth in our understanding and to turn our minds to vanity.
232. With there throats they turn people to themselves instead of to Christ.
233. "Their talk will eat its way like gangrene" ( 2 Timothy 2:17).
234. "Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread?" (Ps. 14:4)
235. "Having itching ears, they will accumulate teachers" (2 Timothy 4:3).
236. "Your prophets have not exposed your iniquity to call you to repentance" (Lamentations 2:14).
237. To teach deceitfully is to teach a pleasing and wanton doctrine, as if it were holy and from God.
238. I know of no preacher today who does not teach deceitfully—other than your brother.
239. They teach people to be pleased with their own righteousness, word and work.
240. "Speak to us smooth things. Prophesy not to us what is right" (Is. 30:10).
241. People do not want things preached to them that are contrary to their own thought.
242. Death is "under their lips" because outwardly it looks like they are following life and truth.
243. All people love truth and righteousness—when it appears attractive to them.
244. Don't follow them and you will see how they curse.
245. LOOK at the lack of harmony and the disunity—is this what they call peace?
246. Works of faith are those done out of the spirit of liberty and solely for the love of God.
247. By the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified in His sight.
248. Faith is indivisible: it is either a whole faith and believes all that is to be believed, or it is no faith.
249. "Whoever fails in one point has become guilty of all of it" (James 2:10).
250. The Lord compares faith to one pearl and to one grain of mustard seed.
251. Heretics are always picking out one thing or many not to believe, from those which are to be believed.
252. Every proud man in his own mind always opposes the counsel of him who is correctly guiding him to salvation.
253. Since we are liars, the truth can never come to us except as an apparent adversary to what we are thinking, for we presume that we think the truth.
254. It is always safer to listen to things which are contrary to our own thinking, than to listen to those things which approve and applaud our ideas.
255. Unless a man learns to listen gladly to things which are against him, he can never be saved.
256. Everything which comes from God is condemned by man.
257. Ahab hated Micah for no other reason than that he always prophesied evil to him.
258. To be cursed, abused, and reproved is the pathway to safety.
259. The proud are pleased in their deception that they believe in Christ but are unwilling to believe the things which pertain to Him.
260. Heretics plainly divide Christ.
261. They believe in Christ in one place but deny him in another.
262. "HE WHO HEARS YOU HEARS ME" (Luke 10:16).
263. Why do they not hear Luther, but only hear their own thoughts?
264. "Man shall live by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt 4:4). Is "is" a word?
265. "Men should seek instruction from the mouth of the preacher, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts" Mal. 2:7).
266. Why do they just pick and choose from Luther; why do they not either listen to his complete sermon, or condemn him as a devil?
267. The whole Christ is in every word and wholly in each individual word.
268. When Christ is denied in one word, He is totally denied.
269. If we were righteous and good we would consent to the Law with ready will and delight.
270. A large part of righteousness is the will to be righteous.
271. It is almost always the case that Christ speaks to us in the place, the time, the manner, and through the person that we do not think He should.
272. "Hear, O daughter, consider, and incline your ear" (Psalm 45:10).
273. "How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes only from God?" (John 5:44).
274. The self-deceived trust only in their own powers and go about doing their works, although always with tedium and difficulty.
275. Grace is not given without the self-cultivation of earnest prayer, earnest study, earnest work and earnest reproof.
276. The devil deludes many into thinking they do good and follow God for the right reason.
277. Many have a zeal which is not enlightened (Romans 10:2).
278. Proper examination reveals at least vestiges of self-interest, obstinacy toward the good and a proneness to do evil in each of us.
279. God has not yet justified us, but He has made a beginning.
280. We are always prone to turn in upon ourselves even when we cannot sense it in our actions.
281. The pursuit of holiness can easily become an end in itself—it delights us.
282. When God takes away our enjoyment of these things and the pleasure which they give, then we neglect to do them.
283. Through presumptuousness and pride even the works of grace are turned into works of the Law and the righteousness of God into the righteousness of man.
284. Many act as if they have laid complete hold on righteousness.
285. All righteous words and works which are done in grace are only preparatory for the growth of righteousness which follows—"Let the righteous still do right" (Rev. 22:11).
286. Not one of the saints thinks or says that he is righteous but rather always prays and waits to be justified.
287. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves" ( I John 1:8-9).
288. "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17).
289. "Forgive us our trespasses."
290. No one should ever despise a man who sins, but one should kindly help him as one who shares a common misery.
291. No one should ever despise a man who sins, but one should kindly help him as one who shares a common misery.
292. The principle of works of necessity puffs us up and makes for glorying.
293. One person says, "I have done it," while another says, "I beg that I might be empowered to do it."
294. One person says, "Command what Thou does wish, and I will do it": the other says, "Give what Thou hast commanded in order that I may do it."
295. The whole life of the new person in Christ is nothing else than prayer, seeking, and begging by the sighing of the heart, the voice of their works, and the labor of their bodies, always seeking and striving to be made righteous.
296. The Christian never stands still, never possesses, never in any work putting an end to the achievement of righteousness, but always awaiting it as something which still dwells beyond them.
297. The Law is spiritual, demanding a heart and a will which we do not possess by ourselves.
298. The Christian's voice is called the "voice of the turtledove" (Song 2:12) because he is always groaning and crying.
299. Blessed are those who mourn.
300. There is no one who seeks God because they think they have found Him.
301. "I was found by them who did not seek Me" (Is. 65:1).
302. The righteousness of God is brought to us without our merits and our works, while we are doing and looking for many other things rather than the righteousness of God.
303. The devil leads some astray by getting them involved in open sins.
304. The devil leads others astray by making them think they have arrived.
305. The devil leads others astray by granting them fervency for holiness so they feverishly engage in works.
306. The devil leads some astray by making them pursue sinless perfection.
307. The devil senses the weakness of each person and works on him accordingly.
308. Just as the patient who is too anxious to recover can surely have a serious relapse, we must also be healed gradually and for awhile put up with certain weaknesses.
309. It is sufficient that our sin displeases us, even though we do not entirely get rid of it.
310. Christ carries all sins, if only they are displeasing to us, and thus they are no longer ours but His.
Chapter Four
311. Paul goes to great lengths to prove that Abraham, our spiritual father, was not esteemed by God because of his works!
312. Abraham can boast about his works, but not before God
313. Abraham BELIEVED God and thereby became righteous in the sight of God.
314. Abraham was a man who was always prepared to believe God.
315. Paul even quoted David: Blessed is the man to whom God RECKONS righteousness apart from works.
316. What we do will NEVER bring peace to the conscience.
317. The righteous man is not content with works but wants to be cleansed from sinful desires; the wicked are content with works performed externally.
318. The wicked knows how much and what one must do in order to be righteous; the righteous do not know when they are righteous because they are righteous only when God imputes righteousness to them, and no man knows His accounting fully.
319. The wicked have a time when they do not think they are sinners; the righteous always know that they are sinners.
320. The saints are always sinners in their own sight, and therefore are justified before God.
321. The hypocrite is always righteous in his own sight, and thus always a sinner before God.
322. "God is wonderful in His saints" (Psalm 68:35).
323. The righteous man is in the first place his own accuser.
324. The hypocrite focuses on single and particular sins; the righteous person knows his whole nature is cancerous with sin—the tinder of sin.
325. Ambrose: "I always sin, therefore I always go to confession."
326. Most of the most zealous christians do not know what sin is nor what forgiveness is.
327. The hypocrite is ruined through his own sense of security.
328. Though the hypocrites implore the grace of God, they do not do so rightly, because they do this only for the sake of forgiveness for an act of sin.
329. It is not sufficient that we think ourselves to be godly, for it belongs to the Lord to do the reckoning.
330. It is crucial to see that all our good is outside of us, and this good is Christ.
331. It is true that a large part of righteousness is the will to be righteous; but the hypocrite equates this wanting and willing with the most minute action.
332. "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it" (Romans 7:18).
333. This entire life is a time of willing to be righteous, but never achieving it, for this happens only in the future life.
334. The mother of hypocrites and the cause of hypocrisy is smugness.
335. God leaves us in our quagmire of sin, in our sinful lusts, in order that He may keep us in His fear and humility, that we may always flee to His grace, always in fear of sinning.
336. We sin even by not being afraid of sin.
337. When this fear and anxiety cease, then very soon smugness takes hold of us.
338. God has determined that He will impute sin to no one who mourns and fears his sins and anxiously seeks His mercy.
339. Through this process God compels us to grow weary of this life and to hope for the future life.
340. This is true of my brother, who is quite a zealous christian: "There is no fear of God before his eyes" (Psalm 36:1).
341. "For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered,' not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, naked, and poor" Rev. 3:17).
342. He who looks only at his actual sin and is concerned only that it be purged, quickly becomes presumptuous and smug—he wants the feeling of not being aware of any sin in him.
343. Those involved in religion seek security and are anxious to escape the fear of God.
344. The fool thinks he would please God if only he were clean.
345. Some forsake God through smugness; others through hopelessness.
346. Both do not understand Paul's teaching about the depth of our sin—our sinfulness.
347. The royal road is to know sin and to hate it and thus walk in the fear of God.
348. The religious person feels bad about himself, for the Word states, "Many are the pangs of the ungodly" (Psalm 32:10.
349. "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. 8:21).
350. "No man of himself is innocent before Thee" (Ex. 34:7).
351. "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins" (Eccl. 7:20).
352. "I will chasten you in just measure, that you may not seem to yourself innocent" (Jer. 30:11).
353. As long as love can be increased, what is less than it ought to be comes from sin.
354. When Paul speaks of sin he is speaking of that deep within us which inclines us to evil deeds and is the cause of them.
355. Iniquity or unrighteousness is ascribed to the person who wants his good works to be looked upon favorably by God.
356. Ungodliness is a denial of sin, a lack of confession of sin.
357. "God is wonderful in His saints," that is, He hides them so that although they are saints, yet they see themselves only as common men.
358. The saints fear the judgment of God upon all their works.
359. When we look at what we do we have lost Christ.
360. "I became afraid of all my works, for I know that Thou wilt not hold me innocent" (Job 9:28).
361. This (#360) is wisdom hidden in a mystery. (I Cor. 2:7)
362. The Law brings wrath.
363. The Law shows the wrath of God to those who have failed to provide for its fulfillment.
364. There is such a shallow understanding of the Ten Commandments because men do not want to really know how gravely short they fall in keeping them.
365. There is such a shallow and percursory understanding of the Lord's Prayer because man does not want to know how much we must cry out for grace and mercy; how willful we are—hopelessly willful.
366. God calls into being that which does not exist—the hypocrite wants to be the initiating cause.
367. Abraham hoped against hope—that is, it could not be reasonably expected that he would have a son.
368. The world's hope is based on what can be reasonably expected.
369. Christian hope has nothing certain in which it can trust, for all things are too hidden, and everything appears contrary.
370. Abraham did not consider his own aged body, but was fully convinced that God was able to do what He promised.
371. Abraham's whole faith-experience was not just for him, but as an example for us.
372. The promises of God always seem contradictory and impossible for the wisdom of the flesh.
373. It is a great trial when the promises of God are delayed because in the anxiety of the heart it is thought that perhaps God is changing His mind and is doing something else.
374. Often man breaks his word, even against his own will, because he cannot perform what he has promised—not so with God.
375. Christ was raised for our justification, and this justification is transferred to us, external to us, through Baptism and Communion.
Chapter Five
376. No Jesus, No peace; Know Jesus, Know peace. This statement is only true when you don't have a bullshit Jesus who only takes away imaginary and light sin.
377. The Christian—one who truly relies on the Word—HAS PEACE WITH GOD—period.
378. Christian peace must be believed more than felt because this peace comes from knowing GUILT is gone before God though the sins which grieve us mostly remain.
379. The Christian's peace is mostly in the CONSCIENCE, where only Christ should dwell.
380. The telltale sign of a disturbed conscience is instability in life and doctrine.
381. "The ungodly are like the chaff which the wind drives away" (Psalm 1:4).
382. My brother believes "my" doctrine may be right, but he won't cling to it—this is instability no matter how far he remains from outward sins.
383. Anyone who does not live in accordance with "this is My body" is unstable even though they don't know or believe it to be the case.
384. "That in Me you may have peace; in the world you have tribulation" John 16:33.
385. "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matt. 10:34).
386. The Christian has peace through justification by faith ALONE; the hypocrite and ungodly person has peace through his own works; he only has peace when his list is fulfilled.
387. The righteous man has peace with God but affliction in the world, because he lives in the Spirit.
388. The unrighteous man has peace with the world but affliction and tribulation with God, because he lives in the flesh.
389. If you, IN THE VERY LEAST, believe you are one bit pleasing to God because of what you do or don't do, you are ungodly, without God, and unsaved.
390. Granted, legalists and the work-righteous have the appearance of believing in Christ.
391. The hypocrite does not want to admit he is an "unprofitable servant."
392. The Christian adores suffering for Christ.
393. All people suffer; some even learn from their suffering; but only the Christian's suffering is eternally beneficial.
394. True Christian suffering is suffering which results because of following the true Christ and the true meaning of the Word.
395. Of what quality suffering finds characteristics and people to be, such it makes them even more.
396. The suffering of hypocrites makes them even more stiff-necked, self-righteous, and secure in their own error.
397. The suffering of the Christian makes him more humble because he knows he deeply deserves whatever suffering comes his way and is glad that suffering might effect Christ deeply within him more and more.
398. The hypocrite says, "I deserve Hell," until life does not go his way, then all of a sudden he becomes undeserving of any adversity.
399. Tribulations are the cross of Christ.
400. Tribulations teach us to persevere.
401. Perseverance in the Word is the ONLY way to achieve salvation.
402. Sincerely believing you have forgiveness of sins through Communion despite seeing virtually no change in your life for years is true Christian perseverance. Those who have too much faith could never withstand this type suffering.
403. "He who does not take his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple" (Matt. 10:38).
404. "Lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power" (I Cor. 1:17).
405. "Why am I still persecuted? In that case the stumbling block of the cross has been removed" (Gal. 5:11).
406. If you do not suffer DIRECTLY because of the Word, you do not carry the cross of Christ and you do not know the true Christ.
407. I have searched this whole world over to find another person of like precious faith and have not found one; instead I have been reviled, discarded, and marginalized—this is true Christian suffering.
408. "My friends and companions have stood against Me" (Ps. 38:11): another way of stating this is, "Only the friends of the cross are its enemies."
409. My brother, a friend of the cross, is, in fact, its enemy—appearances to the contrary.
410. The hypocrite is unwilling to be damned.
411. The hypocrite is unwilling to be nothing.
412. Perseverance in tribulation brings about true Christian character—the height of which is patience.
413. Impatience is the cause of anger.
414. I have true Christian character because I know within my heart that I lovingly wait for Christ to be formed in you.
415. The hypocrite preacher is always angry with someone in his church who does not quite measure up; those who are not angry don't really care anyway and are just there for some earthly benefit.
416. Steve Sohns is angry and ministers for earthly benefit.
417. Some bear sufferings only with difficulty and with a mind which prefers to be delivered from the trial.
418. Some bear sufferings with joy and willingly, but they do not seek suffering.
419. A few long for suffering and seek it like a treasure.
420. God accepts no one as righteous whom He has not first tested by the fire of tribulation.
421. "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked" (Ps. 11:5).
422. Testing takes place that each man may KNOW HIMSELF, whether he really loves God for the sake of God.
423. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; see if any wicked way be in me" (Ps. 139:23-24).
424. If God should not test us by tribulation, it would be impossible for any man to be saved.
425. This is necessary because or the viciousness of original sin, which turns the gifts of God in upon itself AND ALSO believes it is seeking God by so doing—pure delusion.
426. "The heart is perverse above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9).
427. "Who can discern his errors; Clear Thou me from hidden faults" (Ps. 19:12).
428. Scripture calls this viciousness iniquity, depravity, and crookedness.
429. The cross puts to death everything we have, but our iniquity tries to keep itself and its possession alive.
430. Through the cross, man learns to love and worship God purely for Himself, and not just because of His grace and His gifts.
431. "He chastises every son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:6).
432. If God did not chastise us, we would soon be drawn away by the sweetness of salvation and luxuriate in our enjoyment of grace.
433. This is why grace without true and real sin is so important and so emphasized by the ungodly
434. Patience gives us hope.
435. Without testing, hope would soon turn into presumptuousness.
436. It is EASY to enjoy the creature—gifts of God—instead of the Creator; and then we have the audacity to say we worship the true God.
437. True Christian suffering takes EVERYTHING away from man and leaves him NAKED AND ALONE.
438. True suffering makes a man despair of all created things, to turn away from them and from himself, and to seek help outside of himself and all other things.
439. Suffering takes place in the conscience and the spirit, wherein all of one's self-righteousness and wisdom in which people trust are devoured and done away.
440. Suffering teaches us that God's gifts are to be used for the common good and not for one's own pleasure.
441. Christians, so-called, love their worship of God, study of the Scriptures, and their religiosity, as much as all other men love their sin, and it is just as damning and ungodly.
442. When we love God, we love God alone, not even His gifts—which the hypocrites cannot claim.
443. The Christian does not get excited when physical and spiritual blessings flow in; he does not get crushed when they disappear and evils deluge us.
444. To the degree that you want to stay her, alive, and enjoy the worship of God, serving others, and all other wonderful gifts of God, to the same degree you do not know Christ and do not understand the depth of your wickedness.
445. We love God when we love God alone, beyond all things visible and all things experiential, either inwardly or outwardly.
446. We love God alone when we are carried away beyond all things into the invisible God.
447. We love God when we turn away from everything we have known and experienced, and desiring only that which it has not yet known, saying, "I am sick with love" (Song 2:5).
448. We love God when we say, "I do not want what I have and I do not have what I want."
449. God's love is "poured into us": the hypocrite is always about filling himself.
450. Christ died for us when we were HELPLESS; amazing how helpful the hypocrite and ungodly suddenly become.
451. Sin and depravity entered the world through one man—Adam.
452. Death has reigned in all men since Adam, even though only Adam sinned in his own particular way.
453. The Law was given so that sin might become more clearly understood—made manifest.
454. Sin was in the world before the Law came via Moses, but after Moses sin was, in a sense, in the world in a more potent way.
455. Through the Law of Moses, sin received an understanding of itself which it did not possess before.
456. Until Moses, man did not understand the real reason why death reigned—sin.
457. The likeness of Adam's transgression is in us, because we die, as if we had sinned in the same way he did.
458. AND the likeness of Christ's justification is in us, because we live, as if we had produced the same kind of righteousness He did.
459. "The free gift is not like the trespass."
460. That is, if one man's sin had such great power over all mankind, how can it be that the grace of God will not have even greater power?
461. BUT all mankind live as if the Law gives life, and not Christ.
462. The Christian lives under the knowledge that where there is an abundance of sin, there is a super-abundance of grace and life—only in Christ.
463. The power of grace lies in the fact that MUCH more sin is forgiven than Adam committed; we have added many sins to Adam, which are abundantly forgiven through One Man, Christ.
464. If sin was so strong that one sin could destroy many people, indeed, all people, then grace is even stronger still, for the one grace can save many, indeed all people, from many sins, if all are willing.
465. The Law came that it might increase concupiscence by prohibiting it and increase our loathing for the Law by commanding it.
Chapter Six
466. Half the people who "hear" the Word are hypocrites who live as if they can keep the Law enough to please God; the other half who "hear" the Word are brazen sinners who live as if the more they sin the more God will be gracious to them.
467. "WHAT!" says Paul, "are we to continue in sin that grace may abound!"
468. BUT, we are, in fact, dead to sin.
469. The Christian serves the Law of God in his mind, though not in his flesh nearly as much as he would enjoy.
470. The Christian does not obey the DESIRE of sin no matter how his lusts trouble him and call him to consent to them.
471. There is a BIG difference between sinning and desiring to sin.
472. There is a BIG difference between sinning on the spur of the moment and waking up in the morning desiring to sin.
473. There is a BIG difference between stealing on impulse and waking up desiring to steal.
474. The desire to sin is original sin.
475. The Christian lives within the bounds and under the influence of two desires: the desire of the flesh and the desire of the Spirit.
476. The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit; the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh (Gal. 5:17).
477. The battle between these two powerful desires "PREVENTS US FROM DOING WHAT WE REALLY WOULD LIKE TO DO" (Galatians 5:17).
478. "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do" (Romans 7:19).
479. Until we are delivered at death, we are to hate our body of sinful desires, and do all we can to destroy it and them.
480. We should do as many works of penitence as can possibly be done so as to resist our bodily desires—especially we should avoid being idle.
481. We are wise to look at everything we do as an act of penance.
482. "He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).
483. "We are baptized into His death."
484. The death and resurrection of Christ is a sacrament for the inner man and an example for the outer man.
485. Most so-called christians ignore what Christ has done for the inner man and concentrate on following the example of Christ for the outer man, thus making Christ nothing more than a second Moses.
486. A person can have no appreciation nor understanding of what Jesus would do (WWJD) without having a profound understanding of what Christ did, does, and is doing through Baptism and Communion.
487. The principal theme of Scripture is that God has arranged to remove through Christ whatever the devil brought in through Adam.
488. Baptism unites us with his death (v.5); if we are united with Him in death, we shall also be resurrected to the new life.
489. Our old self—"the old man"—is crucified with Christ—through the promise of Baptism.
490. Through Baptism, we are no longer slaves of sin.
491. The spiritual man, while present in all things with his senses, yet in his heart he is entirely withdrawn from these things and dead to all of them.
492. The spiritual man detests all things which go on in this life, yet endures them with patience.
493. When others detect this attitude in you, they will say about you as they said about Paul, "the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things" (I Cor. 4:13).
494. This is an attitude which you are headed TOWARD, and must not expect yourself to arrive at this in a moment.
495. We live in such a way that we are pursuing this kind of death and reach out toward this goal.
496. Baptism was established to direct us toward death and through this death to life.
497. To the degree you are dead and dying to this world system, to that same degree you are alive and living unto Christ.
498. The term "old man" does not describe our nature, but the defect of our nature, for our nature is good, but the defect is evil.
499. The main and primary defect of our nature is our desire to serve, worship, and enjoy God; we refuse to see and understand that we do these things to please our own selves.
500. "The perverse are hard to be corrected" (Eccl. 1:15).
501. This defect makes us seek our advantage even in God Himself.
502. Paul tells us to "consider ourselves to be dead to sin" (6:11); this is true no matter how untrue it seems and feels.
503. Our "body of sin", the seed of Satan, is being done away with no matter how slowly this seems to be taking place.
504. The enmity which began in Genesis 3:15, between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman, is active within the heart of the Christian at all times.
505. The "seed of the woman" is the Word of God in the church, and inclines towards righteousness and good works.
506. Unrighteousness is wanting your good works to be considered by God.
507. DO NOT DISCOUNT your desire to be justified ONLY by the Word, even by one word, "IS." This is the very crushing of the head of Satan, no matter how much his body of other sins may wiggle.
508. If you are not impressed with your works and wisdom, you are truly righteous and will never die.
509. "Whoever believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:26).
510. As long as you do not willingly turn away from true spiritual life, you cannot die.
511. The life we now live we live to God—no matter how this seems not to be the case.
512. God is eternal and a spirit; therefore we are spiritual and eternal.
513. The flesh and temporal things are nothing with God.
514. "Once for all" indicates the eternal nature of grace and denies some other kind of righteousness.
515. Whoever has been baptized has so escaped sin and acquired righteousness that NEVER again for eternity is it necessary to escape sin or acquire another righteousness.
516. This is entirely different from morality, which after one virtue has been acquired, there are still others which must be acquired.
517. Sin is not master over us because we are under grace and not under Law.
518. The Law can tell a man what to do but it cannot enable him to do it.
519. As long as the Law rules, sin has dominion and holds man captive; the conscience is never truly at peace.
520. "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 16:33).
521. "This is the victory which overcomes the world, your faith" (I John 5:4).
522. A person is either a slave to sin or to obedience.
523. The greatest and best obedience is becoming righteous the way God has ordained—through Baptism and Communion.
524. Let the hypocrites have the outer obedience so long as you have true inner obedience: "THIS IS MY BODY GIVEN TO YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS."
525. Even to the ungodly the doctrine of the Gospel has been delivered, but they do not deliver themselves over to it and conform themselves to it.
526. The ungodly have not been committed from the heart to true and proper teaching; their lips say the right words but their hearts are not in it.
527. The ungodly are always about doing for themselves what only God can do for them; only God can commit a person to true righteousness.
528. Sin does not have dominion over you.
529. The man who has Christ does not desire any of this world's goods, no matter how much they may allure him.
530. The man who has Christ does not fear any of this world's evils, even death itself.
531. This man shall never be moved.
532. The Christian man is not insensitive toward lust and terror, but with tremendous labor and sorrow he barely resists.
533. "The righteous man is scarcely saved" (I Peter 4:18). False Christians cannot stand this concept.
534. The righteous man is always more like a victim than a victor as long as he is contending with temptations.
535. He who fears death more than Christ and loves this life more than Christ does not yet possess Christ through true faith.
536. God is faithful to those who stand and call upon Him by faith.
537. As long as sin only attacks and does not gain dominion over the saints, it is compelled to serve them.
538. "Everything works together for good with those who love God" (Romans 8:28).
539. Luxurious living makes the soul more chaste when it attacks, pride makes the soul humbler, laziness makes it more active, avarice makes it more generous, anger, more mild, gluttony, more abstemious.
540. In all these instances the hatred of the spiritual man increases more and more against the thing which is attacking him.
541. Temptation becomes a servant when we resist it, because it then produces a hatred of iniquity and a love of righteousness.
542. Let us recognize this marvelous wisdom of God, because by means of evil He promotes the good, and through sin He achieves righteousness.
543. Paul sets a very high standard, but softens it by saying, "I am speaking to you in human terms because of your natural limitations."
544. Each of us, by nature and training, have limitations and strengths.
545. Whatever progress over our nature we make, Paul wants it to come from within, from the spirit of sanctifying faith.
546. There is a chastity of the ungodly, but it is not a holy sanctification.
547. "Hypocrite, first cleanse the inside of the cup, that the outside may also be clean" says Christ (Matt. 23:26).
548. What benefit did you receive from the things you used to do, but are now ashamed?
549. Sin only brings death, but eternal life is the free gift of Christ.
550. If the Christian must yield to lust in marriage, business, or in the exercise of authority, at least remain within the limits of reason.
551. As long as sin is aglow the sinner seems to have a good and fruitful thing, that is, joy and pleasures, but later, when they have finished, they become detestable and a source of shame.
Chapter Seven
552. Just as a woman is no longer bound by the law of marriage when her husband dies, so the Christian is no longer bound by the Law because he has died to the Law through Christ.
553. "The Law is not binding on us"—that is our inner man, conscience and will.
554. Sin and the wrath of God come through the Law.
555. Man is purged from sin; sin is not purged from man, which makes sense to the spiritually ignorant.
556. The Egyptians were not taken from Israel, rather, Israel was taken out of Egypt.
557. Human righteousness tries first of all to take away sins and change them and also to preserve man as he is.
558. Paul teaches that sin is taken away by a spiritual means—the will to commit sin is put to death.
559. Hypocrites with amazing foolishness punish themselves with numerous labors and are zealous in changing their works before they with true humility seek the grace which would change them.
560. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Eph. 2:10).
561. The first thing we must do is beseech grace so that a man might be changed in spirit and with glad heart and will desire and do all things, not with servile fear or childish cupidity but with a free and manly heart.
562. The Christian is not under ANY teaching which prescribes those things which belong to a good life.
563. Through the Law we sin even more as long as grace is lacking.
564. The Law exposes and arouses the old man that "sin might become exceedingly sinful beyond measure."
565. When grace is given, the old man dies, and the Law can no longer produce him or bring him to light.
566. The Christian dies to the power and dominion of the Law: we are not under the Law, even though we have the Law.
567. Through faith, the Christian satisfies the demands of the Law voluntarily.
568. Even though we sin often and are not perfectly voluntary, yet we have made a beginning and are progressing.
569. Through Christ, the soul is wholly put to death—remade in righteousness.
570. They are not the best Christians who are the most learned and write the most books, for all their books and all their learning are the "written code" and the death of the soul.
571. The very best Christians are those who fulfill the "written code" with a totally free will.
572. In our age it is to be feared that by the making of many books we develop very learned men but very unlearned Christians.
573. The Gospel can easily become like the old written code when it is presented as lists of dos and don'ts.
574. The presumptuous believe they can fulfill the Law by their own powers.
575. The old law says to those who are proud in their own righteousness: "You must have Christ and His Spirit."
576. The new law says to those who humbly admit their spiritual poverty and seek Christ: "Behold, here is Christ and His Spirit."
577. The Law is not sin just because it tells us what coveting is.
578. Apart from the Law sin is dead.
579. The Law is spiritual, but we are carnal, in bondage to sin.
580. The corruptible body is a load upon the soul and presses down the mind.
581. We serve the law of God with our minds.
582. It is characteristic of a spiritual man to know that he is carnal and displeasing to himself, to hate himself.
583. It is characteristic of a carnal man to know that he is spiritual, to be well pleased with himself, and to love his life in this world.
584. Paul: "I do not understand my own actions!"
585. Shock of shocks!: That which promised life actually brought about death!!!
586. Sin is not recognized until man learns to know and perceive the Law.
587. Heretics and the self-righteous do not recognize the Law of God against them, and thus cannot recognize the depth and squalor of their sinfulness.
588. If the hypocrite would recognize the Law, he would immediately recognize his sin, and what is not dead would come to life.
589. The Law makes sin utterly sinful—pure ugly evil.
590. Even Paul was utterly confused about this inner conflict of good and evil.
591. "Who can discern his errors" (Psalm 19:12).
592. He who does not wish to confess more sin than he knows and recognizes in himself will confess few sins, and he does not say: "I acknowledge my sin to Thee" (Ps. 32:5).
593. Augustine: "I do not understand how this very thing for which I lust becomes more delightful when it is forbidden."
594. This sweetness is the opportunity for sin which is found through the commandment, and when we seek it, surely sin deceives us, because it turns us to greater bitterness.
595. God in Christ restores man as created and cleanses corrupted man of his guilt immediately and of his weakness gradually.
596. In Baptism there is remission of all sin, but there remains a kind of civil war against our weaknesses.
597. It is normal for the Christian to do that which he neither chooses nor intends to do. With his heart he chooses the good.
598. Even the great Apostle Paul did the very thing he hated.
599. Paul wanted to act in a completely pure, free, and joyful manner, without being troubled by his rebellious flesh, but this he could not accomplish.
600. The flesh accomplishes its task when with pleasure and without repugnance and difficulty it does its work according to its lusts.
602. Paul does not sin because his flesh lusts without his consent.
603. Because he resists, it is rightly said that the whole man is not doing it, but only a part of him.
604. Paul: "Nothing good dwells within me, that is, within my flesh."
605. When Paul talks about what he wants to do and what he hates, he is talking about his spiritual man, which has been recreated in Christ.
606. When Paul talks about doing and working he is referring to his flesh—the outer man.
607. Paul attributes to the whole man both of these opposing qualities which come from the opposing parts of him.
609. This willing is the prompting of the newly created spirit.
610. "His delight is in the law of the Lord" (Ps. 1:2).
611. Paul discovered a law: when he wanted to do right, evil was close at hand.
612. It is God's dispensation that when this evil resists a willing man and his good will, by this very act it makes his will stronger and increases his hatred of it more than if it did not resist.
613. The carnal man does not have this fire of indignation nor does he feel any resistance, for he is snatched away and meekly follows.
614. No one knows the evil which is in him, unless he has been established in the good above the evil.
615. If our spirit were not in the light, it would not see or lament the evil which lies so close at hand.
616. Paul delighted in the law of God in his inmost self.
617. This inmost self is a mind and conscience that is pure and delights in the law of God.
618. The carnal man hates to know that he ought to know what he does not know—that is, the very opposite of what he wants.
619. Our lust is at war with the grace of Christ—the law of our mind.
621. We must endure this conflict until such time as Christ graciously releases us from this so-called life.
622. Perfect knowledge of oneself is perfect humility, and perfect humility is perfect wisdom, and perfect wisdom is perfect spirituality.
623. "I desire to depart and be with Christ" (Phil. 1:23).
624. "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken and contrite spirit; a broken and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17).
625. Such a person is capable of being guided and does not choose the work he is to do, but waits to be chosen for whatever work may be given to him.
626. We are not called to ease, but to struggle against our passions.
627. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41).
628. For the spiritual man, sin is no longer sin in the sense that it makes us guilty, but because it comes to us as a result of the guilt of the first man and because by its rebellion it strives to draw us into the same guilt.
629. Concupiscence is no longer a sin in the regenerate, so long as there is no consenting to it.
630. The Christian does not bring sinful works to completion by the consent of his will.
Chapter Eight
631. The fact that you must serve the law of sin with your flesh does NOT put you under condemnation, so long as you are in Christ in the way He decrees you to be in Him.
632. "What the law could not do—God did!" Where now is free will?!!!!!!!!
633. Christ came to condemn sin in the flesh so that the Law could be fulfilled in us.
634. You are fulfilling the Law, right now, so long as you walk after the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
635. What is the primary way one walks according to the flesh? To believe that ANYTHING in you merits ANYTHING before God, other than eternal damnation.
636. Knowledge, virtue and whatever good things are desired, sought, and found by natural capacity are good in an evil way, because nature seeks itself and its own in all things.
637. Unless faith gives the light and love makes us free, no man can either have or do anything good.
638. Reason only knows what is good and honorable and useful for itself.
639. The light of nature is more of a shadow than a light.
640. The light of nature and reason came into being right after sin did: "Their eyes were opened" (Gen 3:7).
641. Nature, along with its precious jewel reason, sees, seeks, and works only toward itself in all matters, and it passes by all other things and even God Himself in the midst.
642. Only grace knows how to rejoice in sadness and to mourn in happiness.
643. The hypocrite does not see through his blinded reason that when he sets his mind on God he is setting his mind on the things of the flesh.
644. "Sin" and the "wisdom of the flesh" are the same thing.
645. When Christ condemned sin He isolated and took away the wisdom of the flesh, so that we no longer fear death nor love this life.
646. Our extended families are infatuated with this live, thus proving they still live by the wisdom of the flesh—sin.
647. The wisdom (prudence) of the flesh is hostile to God.
648. The prudence of the flesh chooses what is good for oneself and avoids what is disadvantageous for oneself, it rejects the common good and chooses what is harmful to the community.
649. Human prudence makes man feel that he himself is the final and ultimate object in life, an idol, on whose account he does, suffers, attempts, plans, and says all things.
650. Without grace this crookedness, this depravity, this spiritual fornication and idolatry, is not only incurable but also totally unrecognizable.
651. WHATEVER you possess or experience can EASILY be turned into an idol for your own pleasure and enjoyment.
652. The mind of the flesh does not subject itself to God; classic example: those who refuse to believe the truth about Communion despite the clear teaching of the Word.
653. Sure, some will give up riches but not honors; others will give up health but not children; some will give up parents but not self-will or errors of devotion, knowledge and study.
654. The prudence of the spirit is the choice of the common good and the avoidance of the common evil, the rejection of one's own personal good and the choosing of one's personal evil.
655. It is the Spirit's doing that so many things suddenly disappear and become nothing and are regarded as nothing by the soul.
656. He who is prudent according to the Spirit does not place hope in temporal advantages or fear temporal evils.
657. "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad" (Matt. 12:33).
658. Virtue does not come from acts and works, but acts come from virtues.
659. If you feel that you are afraid of death and do not love it, you have a most sure indication that you are still wrapped up in the prudence of the flesh.
660. If you dread sin, if you dread the coming judgment, if you have lost hope because of your sin, all these things are signs that the prudence of the flesh still remains and survives in you.
661. That which to others is the greatest horror is to the Christian the highest joy, because with perfectly attuned wills they desire the same thing that God desires.
662. "The daughters of Judah rejoice because of Thy judgments, O God" (Ps. 97:8).
663. For not by fearing but by loving shall we escape the wrath of God and the misery and horror of the Judgment, and our conscience is quieted only by conforming to the will of God.
664. "A crown awaits all who love His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8).
665. The Christian just is not under obligation to live according to the flesh.
666. Of course, the hypocrite and self-righteous person defines "flesh" so narrowly as not drinking, dressing modestly and only having sex within marriage, while missing the wellspring and fountainhead of flesh deep within them.
667. "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Matt. 15:8).
668. To be led by the Spirit is to be led away from the flesh—the true flesh.
669. The true leading of the Spirit is not a leading toward a spirit of slavery and fear—again.
670. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (I John 4:18).
671. Never, or rarely, are we without this fear of losing that which our soul is lusting after. Thus, no one is endowed with perfect love.
672. Those who live under the Law live as if under a taskmaster, driven; not so the Christian.
673. The true Son lives in pure freedom and acceptance; slaves live in fear and uncertainty.
674. Faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things.
675. God appears to the hypocrite as harsh and hard, and in their heart they call Him a virtual tyrant, although with the mouth they call Him Father.
676. "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow" (Matt. 25:24).
677. The false saint says: "Thou hast commanded the impossible and Thou hast not given grace but only knowledge."
678. The self-righteous does not have the courage to admit that his God is an enemy and not a friend.
679. You really have the spirit of God when you believe that the works which you do are acceptable and pleasing to God, whatever they may finally turn out to be.
680. This confidence comes only when you realize that through these works you are nothing in His sight, even though they are good and are done out of obedience.
681. This humility and restraint regarding works makes them pleasing to God.
682. The creation itself sets a good example for us to long for a better life.
683. The creation of God, which is skillfully prepared for the future glory, is gazed upon by stupid people who look only at its mechanics but never see its final goal.
684. The creation becomes vain, evil and harmful because it is perverted and regarded as better than it really is by erroneous thinking and the love and enjoyment of vain man.
685. Man is presumptuous enough to think that he can have peace and sufficiency in these created things.
686. The same things are both pure and impure because of the difference of those to whom they belong.
687. "To the pure all things are pure" (Titus 1:15).
688. Just as the creation does, the Christian groans within himself waiting to be delivered into the full adoption of sonship.
689. In hope we have been saved.
690. Hope which comes from a desire for something which we love always increases the love by delay.
691. The thing hoped for and the person hoping become one through the tenseness of the hoping.
692. Augustine: The soul is more where it loves than where it lives.
693. True Christian hope transfers us into the unknown, the hidden, and the dark shadows, so that we do not even know what we hope for, and yet we know what we do not hope for.
694. Hope that is seen is not hope.
695. It is not a bad sign, but a very good one, if things seem to turn out contrary to our requests.
696. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Is. 55:8-9).
697. God gives to us in such a way that He contravenes all of our conceptions—our ideas, so that He may seem to us to be more offended after our prayers and to do less after we have asked than He did before.
698. It is the nature of God first to destroy and tear down whatever is in us before He gives us His good things.
699. "The Lord makes poor and makes rich, He brings down to hell and raises up" (I Sam. 2:6-7).
700. God does a strange work in order to do His own work.
701. Hypocrites do not "bear up under His counsel" (Ps. 106:12, 24).
702. Hypocrites trust in their own pious intention and presume that they are properly hoping, praying, and willing.
703. It is always the case that we understand our own work before it is done, but we do not understand the work of God until it has been done.
704. A Christian takes a passive attitude toward receiving grace, just as a woman does toward conception.
705. Even though we may pray and beg for grace, yet when grace does come and the soul is to be impregnated with the Spirit, it ought neither pray nor act, but only be still.
706. That our soul should be without the power of understanding or willing is to have it in darkness, and it is like going into destruction and annihilation, which it violently dislikes.
707. God helps our prayers way beyond our understanding and way beyond our ability to conceive how marvelously He will answer them.
708. It is always true that God's people ask for too little, things that are too lowly or insignificant in comparison with what God wants to give them.
709. We are too weak and impotent to make large requests of God.
710. God answers us in "the secret place of thunder" (Ps. 81:7), that is, amidst the thunder of wrath which hides His sweet mercy.
711. When God was about to set the children of Israel free, He aroused Pharaoh against them even more strongly.
712. All things, all things, work together for good for the Christian.
713. According to God's purpose, He foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies us.
714. The only difference between Jacob being godly and Esau being ungodly, was the election of God.
715. "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9:15).
716. "He hardens the heart of whomever He wills, and He has mercy upon whomever He wills" (Rom. 9:18).
717. God exposes His saints to so many evils, which are all like grasping hands, and yet He does not lose His saints.
718. There are many arguments against predestination, but they proceed from the "prudence of the flesh."
719. "But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?" (Rom. 9:20).
720. It is wise to look at our will as a bound will rather than as a free will.
721. In an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says, "This is My blood which is poured out for the many" (Mark 14:24, Matt. 26:28).
722. We are all of necessity in sin and damnation, but no one is in sin by force and against his will.
723. Those whom God hardens are those to whom He gives voluntarily to will to be and remain in sin and to love iniquity.
724. The fool thinks it is harsh and unfair that God should seek His glory in our misery.
725. The voice of the flesh is always saying, "my," "my,"; get rid of this "my" and rather say, "Glory to Thee, O Lord!"
726. "Who has given to Me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine." (Job 41:11)
727. "Upon whom does My Spirit rest except on him who is humble and tremble at My Word?" (Is. 11:2)
728. He who is overly fearful that he is not elect, let him give thanks for this kind of fear and rejoice that he is afraid.
729. In desperation the presumptuous say, "If I am damned, I will be damned."
730. The mature Christian resigns himself to hell if God so wills; these people are perfectly cleansed of their own will and prudence of the flesh.
731. The purpose of no one else is accomplished except that of God, to whom every creature is conformed.
732. NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ.
733. What is your desire to know whether you are chosen other than a presumption to know all that God knows and to be equal with him so that he will know no more than you do?
Chapter Nine
734. Paul grieved over the obstinacy of the Jews; do you know anyone who obstinately refuses to believe the truth of the Word? Do you grieve over this?
735. This obstinacy flows from a person who wants God to recognize his works; for God to fully and freely impart anything to them is too shameful, belittling, and humbling.
736. "I could wish myself accursed for my brethren according to the flesh."
737. "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls" (I Cor. 12:15).
738. It is impossible that the man should remain outside of God who has so completely thrown himself upon the will of God.
739. No one knows whether he loves God with a pure heart unless he has experienced in himself that if it should please God he would not desire even to be saved not would he refuse to be damned.
740. The damned suffer so severely because they are unwilling to be damned and do not resign themselves to this will of God, which they cannot do without the grace of God.
741. Christ suffered damnation and desertion more than all saints.
742. In His human nature Christ acted in no way different than a man to be eternally damned to hell.
743. Of course, most are ruled by the prudence of their flesh, thinking that to love oneself is to want or hope first of all for something good for oneself.
744. To love is to hate oneself, to condemn oneself, and to wish the worst, in accord with the statement of Christ, "He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).
745. What is good for the Christian is hidden deeply under its opposite; our life is hidden under death, love under hate for ourselves, glory under ignominy, salvation under damnation, heaven under hell, wisdom under foolishness, righteousness under sin, and power under weakness.
746. What is in God cannot be touched except by the negation of all our affirmatives.
747. "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field" (Matt. 13:44).
748. We are good already so long as we recognize nothing as good except God's good and our own good as evil.
749. "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21); outside of us is exile and all that is seen and touched, but within ourselves is everything which is believed only by faith.
750. Even though all things are very good (Gen. 1:31), yet they are not good for us, because of our sin.
751. Because of sin it is necessary to flee the good things and take on the evil things and with our whole being wish that we might be damned and destroyed.
752. We must act toward ourselves in the same way that a man does who hates another man—truly hates him.
753. "If we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged by the Lord" (I Cor. 11:31).
755. Likewise, not all who say they have faith, brag about faith, preach about faith, have faith—they have PRESUMPTION.
756. Only the children of PROMISE are God's children, not children of the flesh.
757. Hypocrites want to add to the promise, circumvent the promise and effectively ignore the promise of God—this has been the dynamic of man from the beginning.
758. God's promise is ALWAYS something which seems impossible and quite absurd to the fleshly mind of man, just as it was virtually impossible for Sarah and Abraham to believe they would finally have a child when they were so far past the childbearing years.
759. Our families and friends do not want to believe the truth about the Meal because they cannot conceive with their ungodly, arrogant minds, how God can transmit so much through something so insignificant.
760. Is God unjust because he hated Esau and loved Jacob before they were born—before they had done a single work?
762. Paul belaboring of this truth of election proves that salvation is of the Lord—not man.
763. Only the person who wants to actively be involved in his own salvation is offended by the truth that God chooses whomsoever He will.
764. "It does not depend on man's will or on the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."
765. You cannot be a Christian and believe you have made a decision for Christ.
766. It is not a coincidence that the primary rift between Luther and the "protestants" centered over whether or not the will was bound or free; for this reason the "protestants" left Luther and even polluted many Lutherans with their ungodly filth.
767. "It does not depend upon man's will or exertion." (Romans 9:16)
768. "God is at work in you, both to will and to work" (Phil. 2:13).
769. "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in a man who walks to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23).
770. "I saw that the race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise."
771. All things are the instrument of God "who works all things in all" (I Cor. 12:6).
772. The cutting of the wood is not of the ax but of the cutter.
773. "It depends not upon man's will or exertion."
774. Many people try great things, but they do not prevail when God resists them—study history.
775. It is not that man's willing and exertion achieve nothing, but it is not a mater of his own power.
776. "You are nothing, and your work is of that which does not exist" (Is. 41:24).
777. No one should look into the truth of predestination whose heart is not grounded in the wounds of Christ.
778. The subject of election is strong wine, a complete meal, and the most excellent theology for the perfect.
779. "Among the mature we do not impart wisdom" (I Cor. 2:6).
780. There is nothing wrong with being a babe in Christ and needing milk and not solid food; for these the wounds of Christ are the clefts of the rock.
781. "It depends not upon man's will or exertion."
782. The carnal mind's response to all this: "Why does God still find fault, for who can resist His will?"
783. They are so arrogant and presumptuous that they dare argue with and answer back to their Maker.
784. When such questions flash across the mind of the Christian, he is terrified that he has even momentarily entertained such an objection.
785. The clearest sign of a good heart is the fear of doing evil; the remedy for these thoughts is not to be worried about them.
786. Does the potter not have a right over the clay?
787. Does not the Old Testament go to great lengths to prove that Israel's escape from Egypt was due to God's mercy and not their own doing?
788. God cannot show forth His power in the elect unless He first shows them their weakness and hides their power and reduces it to nothing, so that they may not glory in their own power.
789. "God has mercy on whomsoever He wills and He hardens the heart of whomsoever He wills" (9:18).
790. The entire human race in its apostate root was condemned with a divine justice which was so just that even if not a single person were delivered from it, no man could rightly curse the righteousness of God.
791. These truths should not lead us to horror and hopelessness but to the commendation of grace and the destruction of presumptuousness.
792. "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord" (I Cor. 1:31).
793. The whole point of these truths is to make us despair—absolutely despair—of our own powers.
794. Pharaoh was created by God for the very purpose of destroying him to prove God' power.
795. "Only a remnant will be saved."
796. Is. 65:9: "I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, that is, a remnant."
797. Amos 3:12: "As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs or a piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel be rescued."
798. Micah 5:7: "The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people like dew from the Lord."
799. The Lord cuts His Word short, that is, He makes it so the fleshly mind of man cannot understand it—carnal people are offended by it.
800. God rejects the reality that can be seen, and the future, which cannot be seen, He does not show, but between these He gives only His Word.
801. One cannot believe unless he takes his intellect captive to the invisible and cuts himself off from the consideration of all things visible.
802. The Word which is abbreviated is nothing else than faith: do you see how those who claim to have faith annul the Word by making the spiritual life complicated—a bunch of rules?
803. "The bed is so narrow that the other one falls out, and the coat so short that it cannot cover them both" (Is 28:20).
804. The old man and the new man cannot co-exist in faith.
805. Christ: "My Word finds no place in you" (John 8:37).
806. The self-righteous are never justified because they resist grace and the Word, but sinners are justified because they accept grace and submit their minds to the Word.
807. Christ is a stumbling stone for many; they stumble over the simplicity of the Word because their minds must complicate It to make It make sense to their minds.
808. "To you therefore who believe, He is precious, but for those who do not believe He is a stone that will make men stumble, a Rock that will make them fall" (I Peter 2:7).
809. Whoever truly believes in Christ will not be put to shame—will not make haste.
810. "The righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov. 28:1).
811. "Whatever befalls the righteous man will not disturb him" (Prov. 12:21).
812. "The wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot rest" (Is. 57:20).
813. "The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight" (Lev. 26:36).
814. "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength" (Is. 30:16).
815. He who believes in Christ will not be in a hurry, will not flee, will not be terrified, for he fears nothing, he stands quiet and secure, established on the solid rock.
816. This is the penalty of the damned, and their iniquity is without end, that they flee from God and yet cannot escape.
817. "For the Lord will give you a trembling heart and a languishing soul" (Deut. 28:65).
818. Confusion belongs to the conscience in haste, searching hither and yon for quiet and peace.
819. In a single moment God can take away all confidence to where there is no orderly thinking or planning left, only a search for flight.
820. What begins with too great ardor often ends with great disgust.
821. Many are swift and eager to judge others, to teach others, to be heard by others, but slow to be judged, to be taught, or to hear.
822. The man who believes in Christ is "quick to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19).
823. Hurried flight follows confusion and shame because the person dreads to appear.
Chapter Ten
824. My brother has a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened!
825. Jannie's brother, Bruce, has a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened.
826. The Jews have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened!
827. People trust and are enamored with their zeal much more than with the truth of God.
828. They live as if it were impossible for them to make a mistake and misunderstand the Word.
829. These people are all depraved, crooked in heart and corrupt in their minds.
830. "He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts" (Luke 1:51).
831. These false christians also follow their eyes of flesh in regard to works and are always chasing after something which has the appearance of a greater good.
832. This zeal they worship and are drunk with is the head of the old serpent and the cause of all discord, and the source of stubbornness and unbelief.
833. If you, you, want to have an enlightened zeal, you, you, must have a pious ignorance and mental darkness.
834. Without understanding, without feeling, without thinking, you must be indifferent to all things.
835. You must be content not choosing, but expect to be chosen and called.
836. You must be always fearful and always prepared to be led and turned and directed to a lesser kind of work.
837. Otherwise, you will "have a zeal for God, but it will not be enlightened."
838. True zeal from the Holy Spirit makes you gentle and teachable, just as gold can be shaped and fashioned to every form.
839. "It is difficult to correct the perverse" (Eccl. 1:15).
840. These perverse people sidestep God's righteousness and establish their own.
841. The pope has established his own righteousness, and anything other than God's righteousness is based and rooted in Law—which Christ did away with.
842. Do you want to be saved? Accept the Word which is nearer to you and clings more closely to you than your very skin.
843. Hypocrites always think they must go up to heaven and fetch something, as if the death and resurrection of Christ were insufficient.
844. Just take an honest look at their life and you will see that they live as if Christ's work is ineffectual.
845. The way of salvation is short; the way of the Law is long, winding, and circuitous, just as was the wandering of the Jews in the wilderness.
846. Study the prophets: learn from them how they preached against nothing else then an unwillingness to hear the voice of God—ALONE.
847. "But to whom shall I look except to him who is poor and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word? He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man and he who makes a memorial offering is like him who blesses an idol. All these have chosen their own way" (Is. 66:2).
848. Today is Sunday; at this moment people all over the world are worshipping God; they might as well go out and commit gross sin, because in God's sight, their worship is gross sin.
849. Only faith puts out the eyes of all wisdom of the flesh, causing men to know nothing, to be prepared to be taught and led and to hear promptly and to give in.
850. Only faith mortifies our own feeling of self-importance and makes a person subject to another.
851. The whole life of the old man is concentrated in the feelings, mind, or wisdom and prudence of the flesh, just as the life of a serpent is in its head.
852. Where the hypocrite ought to just believe, he wants to have it demonstrated to him.
853. He who does not yield and always thinks that he is infallible is most assuredly a person in whom the old Adam still lives, and Christ has not yet risen in him.
854. The prudence of the flesh always regards the work as more important than the Word and weighs the worth of the Word in terms of the worth and nonworth of the works.
855. Example: I was taught to make sure I was worthy to take communion, rather than believe the truth about the power of communion.
856. God does not consider the difference between works, but only the value of obedience.
857. The prudence of spiritual men knows neither good nor evil but always looks to the Word and not to the work.
858. Satan called Eve away from the Word to works by saying, "Did God say."
859. The work-righteous hope to have so much the greater salvation as they have done greater works—they strive for quantity of works.
860. These people despise little works and stand in awe of great ones and pants after them.
861. Do you want to be Christian? Give your childlike attention to the Word with all zeal, all your powers, all your wisdom, and with completely closed eyes.
862. It just does not make sense to the carnal man that all one must do to be saved is confess the truth of the Word (not their own opinion about the truth of the Word) and believe with the heart the truth of the Word.
863. The righteous man retains NOTHING for himself, but comfortably lives in nothingness.
864. Confession is the principal work of faith; one cannot confess God while affirming oneself.
865. CALL on the Lord! How? With the very words of salvation which have surrounded you your whole life: "I baptize you… This is My body, This is My blood."
866. "God is able to make all grace abound in you" (2 Cor. 9:8).
867. The whole root and origin of our salvation lies in God who sends.
868. God has not sent my brother, therefore he preaches falsely.
869. His preaching is the same as not preaching—actually worse.
870. Those who hear him, hear falsely and it would be better had they not heard him.
871. Those he prompts to call upon God have done nothing but angered God.
872. "Then they will call upon Me, but I will not answer" (Prov. 1:28).
873. "They cried to the Lord for help, but there was none to deliver; they cried to the Lord, but He did not answer them" (Ps. 110:2-3).
874. You want to be a Christian: see to it that he who teaches has been sent by God.
875. "I did not send the prophets, yet they ran" (Jer. 23:21).
876. Fact: When the Word of God comes, it always comes contrary to our will and thinking.
877. "Is not My Word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?" (Jer. 23:29)
878. I have beautiful feet; how do I know? I come bringing nothing but peace for your conscience.
879. The only thing mightier than the conscience is the Word; the only thing that restores the conscience is the glad tidings of the Word. Please, tell me where is the Good News when I have to fulfill lists?
880. The Law shows nothing but our sin, makes us guilty, and thus produces an anguished conscience, but the Gospel supplies a longed for remedy to people in anguish.
881. Hypocrites endure what you might call a quiet anguish; they keep enduring this because they are so convinced that their efforts will eventually pay off; they keep searching just as a dog sniffs one ass after another.
883. Why don't they believe? They are not content to sit in nothingness and HEAR—LISTEN.
884. Of course they hear, but they hear without hearing; they are always trying to make their false hearing into true hearing; they are always trying to beat a square peg into a round hold.
885. Our families cannot claim ignorance, just as the Jews cannot claim ignorance: they hear; they just do not want to believe because the truth is beneath them and they hate it.
886. God gives grace to no one but sinners, He instructs no one but the foolish and stupid, He enriches none but paupers, and He makes alive only the dead—not those who imagine themselves to be such.
889. How can God any more plainly attempt to prove that free will has NOTHING to do with salvation? What other grand example can He give than that He rejected the Jews and brought in the Gentiles, against their will?
890. "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled" (Matt. 23:12).
891. "He who glories may glory not in his own progress but in the mercy of God" (I Cor. 1:31).
892. To this very day the Jews do not believe that the grace of God can be among the Gentiles apart from them, just as every church believes, at least secretly, that they have the true and proper way to Heaven.
893. Like the devil, so also the Jews, my brother, and every proud man cannot bear to hear of his own rejection.
894. "All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."
895. My hands are stretched out.
Chapter Eleven
896. "I myself am an Israelite." Paul is proving that if even one person faithfully adheres to God's promise, then God has kept His promise.
897. Again, Paul, as he did in chapter three, is seeking to absolutely destroy human presumptuousness.
898. "I have kept for Myself." God always keeps a few faithful to His Word; but it is God who keeps, not human power and determination.
899. There is always a remnant based on God's gracious choice—not human works.
900. God always keeps a few from bowing to the shiny religion which seems to be so holy and pure.
901. Arrogant individualists always abound who worship the true God according to their own ideas with most ridiculous zeal; but they are true enemies of God.
902. John Calvin was a great "Baal"—a pious person with an obstinate mind.
903. These mighty ones who turn so many away from Truth, have a complacent satisfaction with their own works, a high opinion of their own righteousness, a mighty zeal for what they have invented, a deeply false humility, and an inability to feel and act on the same level with true sinners.
904. If false christians knew God was holding their works in contempt, they would not do them.
905. God gives these people a "spirit of stupor," a spirit which makes them pleased with themselves and displeased with everything else.
906. God allows their "table" to become a snare; that is, the Word which they say they feast on so abundantly, they eat death, damnation, and detestable bonds.
907. The Word becomes a trap for them because they want to accept as true only that which seems true to them, and a pitfall because they turn away from the truth when it is thrown up to them and when it runs counter to their own thinking.
908. Every arrogant heretic is first caught by his ignorance of the truth, then accepts what seems to him to be true, then is trapped in his smugness, as if he were free beyond the snare and the trap.
909. God gives this spirit of stupor when He causes them to be roused to indignation because of the fact that He does what they do not want and destroys what they do want; He gives them a spirit of envy.
910. God wills this for their punishment according to Psalm 112:10: "That the wicked man may see it and be angry; that he may gnash his teeth and melt away." Study the facts: see how all the holy men hated Luther and his doctrine!
911. Amazing! God uses the obstinacy of the Jews to save the Gentiles!
912. As the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul rejoiced in this Good News to the Gentiles, even though he was a Jew.
913. A person is allowed to glory as long as it is done for the benefit of others and not for his own vain pleasure.
914. Paul leaves open the possibility of the Jews' restoration.
915. Warning! Warning! If God did not spare the "natural branches" (the Jews), take heed lest He also destroy you!
916. Again, Paul warns us not to become wise with a certain complacency.
917. God allows others to fall, many others, so that the few, the remnant may not become proud and arrogant.
918. God can graft the Jews, who are natural branches, back into the tree of salvation.
919. We are here walking on the holy ground of a mystery in these verses.
920. "Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles come in" (Luke 21:23-24).
921. "In the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, for the Lord your God is a merciful God" (Deut. 4:30-31).
922. "Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to His goodness in the latter days" (Hos. 3:4-5).
923. The Jews are beloved for the sake of the holy fathers.
924. God has consigned all to disobedience that He might have mercy on all.
925. The counsel of God is not changed by either the merits or demerits of anyone.
926. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God.
927. Wisdom pertains to the contemplation of eternal things.
928. Knowledge pertains to the understanding of temporal things.
929. From Him; through Him; to Him, are ALL THINGS.
930. To HIM be the glory forever. Amen.
Chapter Twelve
931. Having devoted 11 chapters to establishing the true foundation for faith, Paul now turns to works.
932. Paul has just been warning, for 11 chapters, not to build the life of faith on the sand of our own righteousness.
933. The order: becoming, being, and then working.
934. The most important work? The continued eradication of our own wisdom and self-will.
935. We have been called to reasonable worship, not beast-like slavery.
936. The whole basis of Christian works is the gradual and increasing laying aside of improper thinking.
937. Husbands think they should be served.
938. Wives think they don't have to honor their husbands as lords.
939. Children think they don't have to honor their parents.
940. Everyone thinks they deserve better.
941. "We are changed from one degree of glory to another" (2 Cor. 3:18).
942. You will NEVER find God's will without a concerted effort to conform you mind to the Word; Christianity is not simply adding faith to natural wisdom and prudence.
943. You will be able to prove what is the will of God when you begin to learn that it lies hidden under things which are displeasing to you.
944. God speaks through the unreasonable boss, the tyrannical parent, the unfair judge, the selfish husband, etc.
945. God's perfect will lies hidden under the imperfect.
946. We are being transformed; our life is not static, but a movement from good to better.
947. The Christian is always a sinner, always a penitent, always righteous.
948. Repentance is the medium between unrighteousness and righteousness.
949. If you are not constantly and regularly dying to things that at one time made sense to you, you are on the road of unrighteousness.
950. If you cannot point to thoughts you once had but have now repented of, the Spirit of God does not dwell in you.
951. "Be renewed in the spirit of your minds" (Eph. 4:23).
952. "Our inner nature is being renewed every day" (2 Cor. 4:16).
953. "You have put on the new man which is being renewed" (Col. 3:10).
954. We ourselves are a sacrifice to God; our very selves, our opinions, our hopes, dreams, aspirations, wisdom, intelligence is in a continual state of death, decay, and dying.
955. We are holy to the Lord; that is, set apart for only Him, to have His thoughts, understand His ways, and submit to His wisdom.
956. A living sacrifice is a body which is afflicted for the Lord, lives in virtues, and is dead to vices.
957. You must remember that the greatest and highest part of the body, is the mind; a proper mindset will lead to a proper hand-set.
958. Most christians are like the foolish virgins, they lead holy lives, but they have no oil, because they are seeking only to please men.
959. It is more important to please only God than it is to be holy—whited sepulchers.
960. God's good, acceptable and perfect will must be EXPERIENCED; but this can only be experienced when you submit to things that just don't make sense to you.
961. The Christian mind is flexible.
962. The Christian is led where he neither thinks nor wants to go, but is led above all thought.
963. When the Christian is properly led by God, the will of God seems to go against him sharply and displeasingly.
964. The unrighteous, our families, act according to their own preconceived notion, and want things done in a way that makes sense to them, and are not willing to set aside their own ideas—they are "conformed to this world."
965. Faith itself transforms the thinking and leads us to acknowledge the will of God.
966. One cannot have faith when he or she rejects initial truth—the truth about Baptism and Communion.
967. Whenever God gives a new degree of grace, He gives in such a way that it conflicts with all our thinking and understanding.
968. The transformation of the mind is the most useful knowledge that believers in Christ can possess.
969. The preservation of one's own mind is the most harmful resistance to the Holy Spirit.
970. It is important that each man have his own experience and carefully observe his own visitation from God.
971. In the Church God does nothing else but transform the mind, and those who are satisfied with their own thinking disturb everything and produce schisms and heresies.
972. "Men of corrupt minds" (2 Tim. 3:8).
973. The wisdom of God lies hidden under the appearance of stupidity, and truth under the form of lying.
974. When the Word comes, it comes in a form contrary to our own thinking.
975. Christ called the Word our adversary in Matt. 5:25: "Make friends with your accuser."
976. God's will lies so hidden under the disguise of the evil, the displeasing, and the hopeless, that to our will and good intentions, it seems to be nothing but a most evil will.
977. The Christian abandons his own will and good intentions and submits himself in complete denial of his own righteousness, goodness, and truth.
978. God works in such a way that He makes us do most willingly what we most strongly do not will to do.
979. Every Christian ought to rejoice most heartily when something is done which is diametrically contrary to his own thinking, and he ought to be in greatest fear when it goes according to his own thinking.
980. The Christian endures injustice; the hypocrite does not.
981. There is no race of men upon the earth who are more ignorant of justice than lawyers, the good-intentioners, and the intellectuals.
982. The only complete righteousness is humility which subjects everyone to everyone else and thus gives everything to everyone.
983. Since before God no one is righteous, absolutely no injustice can be done to a person by any other creature, even though he may have justice on his side.
984. With this mindset, all cause for contention is taken away from men.
985. A Christian takes his cross by hating his own life, willing against his own will, being a fool in opposition to his own wisdom, confessing his sin in the face of his own righteousness, and heeding foolishness spoken against his own wisdom.
986. Thus, God's will becomes good to us when it is acknowledged so by us through experience; this is a most comforting doctrine.
987. We ought to have the greatest courage at the very time when evils befall us, for that is where God shows His good will.
988. "The Lord kills and brings to life; He brings down to hell and raises up" (I Sam. 2:6).
989. We prove the will of God when we do not judge according to our experience and our feelings, but rather walk in darkness.
990. The will of God is good because out of evil it brings good, acceptable because it causes us to love that good with great joy, and perfect because it brings those who rejoice in it to completion in eternity and thus perfects what it had begun.
991. Believers have different measures of the gifts of faith.
992. Faith is nothing else than obedience to the Spirit; there are varying degrees of this obedience.
993. The church is focused on everything and anything other than the establishment of true faith.
994. True preaching and prophecy provoke many to unbelief; the record of the prophets proves this.
995. It is essential that preaching be compared to and in harmony with true and genuine faith.
996. Preaching should be concerned with "things not seen", lest by chance it become the wisdom of the world, which is concerned with things which are seen, either in causes or in effects.
997. Be careful, very careful, to remain within your calling and gifts, not ambitious and going beyond what God has given you grace and gifts to do.
998. Whoever preaches without grace "beats the air" (I Cor. 9:26); my brother "beats the air."
999. Without the call of God, neither the ministry nor teaching succeeds.
1000. Teaching is directed to those who do not know; exhortation applies to those who do know.
1001. "The lazy ox longs for the saddle, and the nag longs to plow."
1002. Each man's own devil tempts him in the use of his own ability,
1003. Do not give hoping for something in return.
1004. Your giving should be mostly confined to those who just have no hope to repay you.
1005. Those who rule the church must not be given to idleness, riches, pleasure, glory, honor, or power and terror.
1006. "Woe! Shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, but with force and harshness you have ruled them" (Ezekiel 34:2).
1007. Everyone who is exalted is exalted for the purpose that he seek nothing for himself nor seek to live for himself, but that he recognize that he has been made a servant of his servants.
1008. The primary measure of every master is his diligence.
1009. A man cannot be diligent in the case of other people unless he is negligent of his own interests.
1010. Proper diligence makes a proper negligence.
1011. He who is forced to come to the aid of the needy out of shame or some other kind of threat does not show mercy with cheerfulness.
1012. Don't pretend to love someone when down deep you hate them.
1013. "When you are happy, you have many friends, but in times of trouble, you will be alone".
1014. So deep is this dissimulation, this false love and kindness, that it is a rare man who recognizes it in himself.
1015. Want to be a true friend and lover? Reprove and warn the erring.
1016. Do not admire vices as though they were virtues and praise them.
1017. "Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good." Who is there who would admit to this? Is Paul wasting words here for no reason?
1018. Naturally, each man calls that which pleases him good and that which displeases him evil.
1019. "Test everything, and hold fast what is good" (I Thess. 5:21).
1020. You must not go on outward appearance, but judge according to the Word.
1021. We must hate in our neighbor whatever is evil, without praise or fear, and cling to what is good in him, without deceit or favor.
1022. The church is in a wretched condition because its leaders do not hate the evil that is present in the church.
1023. All love by nature is blind.
1024. The love among Christians ought to be a special and more perfect thing than the relationship among strangers and enemies.
1025. "Outdo one another in showing honor."
1026. "In humility count others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3).
1027. "When you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place" (Luke 14:10).
1028. A man cannot show proper honor unless he humbles himself and judges himself worthy of being put to shame.
1029. It is easier to give something and to be of service with one's body than to hold only oneself in contempt and to think highly of all other people.
1030. See how love keeps nothing for itself and seeks only those things which are in the interests of others?
1031. Don't snore and yawn.
1032. "He who is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys" (Prov. 18:9).
1033. Don't do your work as if you were asleep.
1034. Don't be indifferent; indifference means you are fervent in the flesh.
1035. Do not rejoice over things of the present, or things you have experienced and know.
1036. You do not have Christian hope unless you renounce everything, have nothing to desire, to trust in, to take pleasure in.
1037. True Christian hope proceeds directly to joy.
1038. Be constant in prayer.
1039. There is no work like praying to God.
1040. Prayer requires a subdued and broken mind and an elevated and victorious spirit.
1041. True prayer involves deep intellectual attentiveness and emotional attentiveness.
1042. To "be constant in prayer" means especially to urge, to incite, and to demand.
1043. "The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force" (Matt. 11:12).
1044. Prayer is a constant violent action of the spirit as it is lifted up to God, as a ship is driven upward against the power of the storm.
1045. We must all practice violence and remember that he who prays is fighting against the devil and the flesh.
1046. Provide for those under persecution.
1047. I am terribly persecuted.
1048. Be hospitable—love strangers.
1049. "Do not mind high things." Be interested in the lowly and take an interest in them.
1050. Humility is the willingness to accommodate oneself to humble things and not to despise the lowly.
1051. "For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden" (Luke 1:48).
1052. Don't be conceited; don't be a blockhead—opinionated, hardheaded and stiff-necked.
1053. Make sure you are regularly yielding to the advice of another.
1054. Conceit is the destroyer of spiritual unity.
1055. Do not take vengeance.
1056. You should desire to please people as much as you can.
1057. If a person has sustained an insult, he should excuse himself in quiet and calm words and not contend in anger for his position but acknowledge the insult as if it were deserved.
1058. The only way to achieve a true conversion is through love and kindness.
1059. Fear makes a person hate his conversion.
1060. There is no reason for people being under surveillance.
1061. An enemy, because he realizes that he does not deserve an act of kindness, is completely captivated by his benefactor.
1062. Make sure that he who hurts you does not cause you to become evil like him and that his iniquity does not overcome your goodness.
1063. He is the victor who changes another man to become like himself while he himself remains unchanged.
1064. It is better to escape from anger by silence than to gain the victory by answering.
1065. "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him" (Prov. 26:4-5).
1066. By replying in kind you accomplish nothing to cause the fool to see himself as a fool, but rather you increase his foolishness by the foolishness with which you repay him.
1067. As long as folly sees something like itself, it is not displeased with itself; but it does become displeased when it sees something different from itself.
Chapter Thirteen
1068. Paul continues explaining how true faith will act.
1069. The Christian submits himself to government and government's right to do with him as it deems right.
1070. The Christian does not care about external things and thus is indifferent to the external things government can do to him.
1071. The Christian has contempt for all that is in this world; he is here to serve the interests of others.
1072. The spirit of believers cannot be or become subject to anyone but is exalted with Christ in God.
1073. "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything" (I Cor. 6:12).
1074. Christian servitude is the highest freedom, for it lacks nothing and receives nothing, but rather gives and bestows.
1075. Resist authority; resist God.
1076. Obey laws and you have nothing to fear.
1077. Government has the right and responsibility to put lawbreakers to death.
1078. Government is an agent for God's wrath.
1079. Pay taxes and give authority honor.
1080. When you love your neighbor you have fulfilled the Law.
1081. Your love for yourself is not to be cultivated; rather, this inner self-devotion should serve as an example of how fervently we should serve and please our neighbor.
1082. "For whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12).
1083. There would be no contention if we loved others better than ourselves.
1084. The hypocrite refuses to notice how miserably he fails his neighbor; he even perverts the Word by thinking that self love is a good thing, believing that self love must come before neighbor-love.
1085. See how often you love someone who does not deserve it and who cannot repay you in any way.
1086. WAKE UP! Stop snoring in your sin.
1087. The spirit is sleeping when it lives in sins and is content.
1088. If you are wrapped up in American materialism, you are snoring in sin; you are smug and lukewarm.
1089. Many put their hand to the plow and look back (Luke 9:62).
1090. St. Bernard: "He who does not constantly hasten to repent says by this action that he does not need repentance."
1091. To stand still on the way to God is to retrogress, and to advance is always a matter of beginning anew.
1092. Pray this way daily: "Help me, Lord, that I may begin to live for You."
1093. "If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know" (I Cor. 8:2).
1094. The lukewarm Christian seeks temporal advantages in external things.
1095. True and proper Christian sleep is to regard external things as imaginary things and shadows rather than real things because of your concern for eternal matters.
1096. There is no enemy worse than luxury to the Christian.
1097. The fight against the flesh is awesome, but just hang in there because daily we are closer and closer to our full and final salvation.
1098. The Christian is watchful and chaste.
1099. We will teach our children something we were not properly taught: a proper disdain and contempt for this world's goods.
1100. He who wishes to serve God must above all fight against the vice of gluttony, because it is both the first and the most difficult vice to overcome.
1101. Fasting is one of the strongest weapons of Christians, but gluttony is one of the most potent machines of the devil.
1102. The Christian is not quarrelsome.
1103. The Christian does not care about being correct, right and the winner.
1104. The Christian does not have to have the last word.
1105. "Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."
1106. The Christian makes provisions for necessities.
1107. He who cherishes his flesh nourishes an enemy; on the other hand, he who destroys his flesh kills a friend.
1108. "He who pampers his servant from childhood will in the end find him stubborn" (Prov. 29:21).
1109. YES! These are daunting expectations if attempted without faith.
1110. Of course, many hypocrites fulfill these external expectations better than we do because they must work so much harder to have the tiniest spark of peace in the conscience.
Chapter Fourteen
1111. Many Christians are weak, in that they are overly careful and superstitious in some respects, and think they ought to do what they really do not need to do.
1112. This weakness, this shyness about the use of things, should not be encouraged, but especially it should not be a source of offense for the weak.
1113. "Teach what befits sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1).
1114. "How can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more?" (Galatians 4:9).
1115. "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch; these have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh." (Col. 2)
1116. In the new law all things are free and nothing is necessary for those who believe in Christ, but love is sufficient for them.
1117. All things are free, but we must observe moderation in their use.
1118. No one has the right to judge you in regard to these free, external things.
1119. Whoever judges you believes that you are doing things that are opposed to your salvation, and that you must necessarily do otherwise—their salvation by works platform is fully revealed.
1120. I have the right to abstain from anything I want to, only so long as I don't believe it makes me a better Christian or a better Christian than you are.
1121. The clergy should make as few commandments as possible and be on guard as to when, how much, and how these commandments either promote or hinder love, and change them accordingly.
1122. It is easy for men to fall into trusting in externals for salvation and to become unconcerned about the inner man.
1123. Despair makes a monk.
1124. The weak should be tolerated and helped to greater and greater strength; but the weak must not judge the strong who see external things as free and useful.
1125. The strong should instruct the weak and the weak should allow themselves to be instructed.
1126. No one should judge the decisions or reasons of another person by which he is moved to do so and so.
1127. Look how the modern christian world is in bondage to so much trash in its conscience.
1128. Examine yourself when you decide to do or not do something: if you would rather be free and without restraint, then you are doing nothing except becoming a hypocrite.
1129. You cannot walk in a security which has been produced of and by yourself, but rather in one which has been sought and looked for from His mercy.
1130. If you want to please God in what you do and leave undone, you must do nothing from a compulsion of necessity or driven by fear.
1131. When your conscience troubles you about the things you think you should do, then you have proof positive that you have denied Christ, made Him useless, having thrown Him out of your conscience.
1132. The standard is not what good we have done or failed to do, nor what evil we have done or not done, but rather with what kind of willingness and with how great a willingness, with how much and what kind of happiness in our hearts we have done everything or wanted to do it.
1133. "I feared for all my works" (Job 9:28).
1134. They who truly do good works, do nothing without always considering: Who knows that the grace of God is acting with me in this work?
1135. The surest and very best sign of grace is that we fear and tremble, and the surest sign of God's wrath is to be smug and self-confident.
1136. Whether we live or die we are the Lord's.
1137. Those who are unbelieving and emphasize externals live to themselves and die to themselves and belong to themselves, and thus they perish eternally.
1138. We should not have contempt for one another based on externals.
1139. Concentrate on this: EACH one of us will stand individually before the Lord and give an accounting.
1140. Nothing is unclean in itself.
1141. When you despise your brother in Christ, you are despising God.
1142. God can make a person stand and exceed your holiness in the blink of an eye if He so desires.
1143. Do you really want to destroy a brother in Christ because of food?
1144. The kingdom of God has nothing to do with food and drink, but with righteousness, peace and joy.
1145. Be pleasant toward yourself, peaceful toward your neighbor, and righteous before God.
1146. "Be at peace with those who are over you, rebuke the restless, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all" (I Thess. 5:12).
1147. "I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves" (Gal. 5:12).
1148. "We command you that you keep away from any brother who is walking disorderly" (2 Thess. 3:6).
1149. Pursue what makes for peace—those things which edify and calm.
1150. Love teaches us what these things are as the time and place require, for they cannot be given to us in the particular.
1151. Be willing to give up anything for the sake of your brother.
1152. We must avoid with great effort everything which works against the conscience.
1153. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
1154. "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
1155. If you doubt that you can eat, you sin.
Chapter Fifteen
1156. Christians make the sins of others their very own, keeping judgmentalism and viciousness where they belong—in hell.
1157. "Let everyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Cor. 10:12).
1158. "Why are you so self-satisfied, you foolish man, and think you are something, when you are nothing?" (Gal. 6:3).
1159. This is ordained: Each must bear the shame of the other.
1160. None of us lives to himself.
1161. Did you never make a stench in your mother's lap?
1162. The hypocrite says, "Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am set apart from you" (Is. 65:5).
1163. Does it give you pleasure that you are good and others are evil?
1164. The hypocrite would be most unhappy if all were as righteous as he.
1165. We take no pleasure for any good we do for another—we do not please ourselves, but our neighbor.
1166. True love for self is hatred for your self.
1167. The person who hates himself and loves his neighbor truly loves himself.
1168. There is no other way to avoid our depravity, our being turned in on ourselves.
1169. It is perversity that we want to be loved by all and want to seek our interests in all people.
1170. It is uprightness that if you do to everyone else what in your perverseness you want done to yourself, you will do good with the same zeal as you used to do evil.
1171. The unpleasant qualities of others allow us to demonstrate the love of Christ.
1172. Paul uses Christ as an example—in chapter 15!
1173. Christ gladly bore our sin and shame upon Himself.
1174. Every haughtily righteous person is impatient with sinners and does everything to please himself.
1175. Our hope is based on the encouragement of the Word, NOT on anything seen.
1176. Take your eyes and heart off everything you see and you will realize how much you need true spiritual encouragement.
1177. To give up a tangible thing for words and the Scripture is truly a big order.
1178. The Christian dies to all material things, at least in his feelings, even though in practice he still uses them out of necessity rather than willingly.
1179. "Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33).
1180. "We deal with the world as though we had no dealings with it" (I Cor.7:31).
1181. One mind, one voice, one accord—the ONLY way to glorify God.
1182. Christians welcome one another—especially real sinners.
1183. God is the God of hope; where there is hope, there He is worshipped.
1184. The Christian is filled with a trusting conscience and mutual concord.
1185. A person either hopes in material things or in God.
1186. The Christian is filled with all goodness.
1187. The Christian is filled with all necessary knowledge.
1188. Christians admonish one another.
1189. The Christian glories in Christ and His work.
1190. Paul ministered as a priest and the Gentiles are his sacrifice.
1191. Paul was ambitious to preach the Gospel, even though it was such a shameful job—as it always is.
1192. "Whoever is ashamed of Me before men, I will be ashamed of him before the angels of God" (Luke 9:26).
1193. "The apostles left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus" (Acts 5:41).
1194. Paul strove to enrich his conscience in the work of the Lord, which cannot be enriched in a better way than by serving others out of love, even is this leads to ignominy and the cross.
1195. The ambition to do good is truly rare and thoroughly apostolic.
1196. To preach the Gospel is to bestow the greatest benefit.
Chapter Sixteen
1197. Paul sets forth certain examples of good people to be imitated.
1198. The church is to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, and AVOID them.
1199. Christians do not listen to false teachers and false christians.
1200. My brother says he is serving Christ, but he is serving his own appetites.
1201. False teachers use fair and flattering words to deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.
1202. The Christian is wise as to what is good: Believing that "is" means "is" is good.
1203. Where Satan rules, there is confusion, lack of unity, and disharmony.
1204. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet.
1205. There is only one way for the Christian to be established—by and through the Gospel of Paul.
1206. This mystery of the Gospel had been hidden, even from the angels, from eternity.
1207. The Christian obeys God through faith.

Love, Dad          August 2007