Luther On The Comfort Of Christ’s Return

45. Without a doubt, He has spoken this comforting word also for the fainthearted, who, though they are godly and prepared for the Last Day, are yet filled with great anxiety and [thus] hinder their desire for this coming, which is especially found at the end of the world; therefore, He calls it their redemption. For at the end of the world, when sin will so terribly hold sway, and along with sin the second part (the punishment for sin with pestilence, war, and famine) will also hold sway, it is necessary that believers have a strong confidence and comfort against both afflictions: sin and its punishment. Therefore, He uses the sweet word “redemption,” which all hearts gladly hear. What is redemption? Who would not gladly be redeemed? Who would desire to remain in such a desert, both of sin and of punishment? Who would not wish an end to such misery, such danger for souls, such ruin for man—especially when Christ so sweetly allures, invites, and comforts us?

46. The godless preachers of dreams [cf. Jer. 23:25–28] should be censured; in their sermons they hide these words of Christ from the hearts of people and turn faith away from them, who want to make people godly by terrifying them, and who afterward prepare [people] for this day with their own good works and satisfaction for their sins. Here despair, fear, and terror must remain and grow—and with it, hatred, aversion, and abhorrence for the coming of the Lord—and enmity against God must be established in the heart. Meanwhile, they teach people to picture Christ as nothing but a stern judge whom they are to appease and expiate by their works, and never regard [Him] as the Redeemer, as He calls and offers Himself, of whom we are to expect in firm faith that out of pure grace He will redeem us from sin and all evil.

47. See, this is the way it always happens. When people do not preach the Gospel correctly, and only pursue hearts with commands and threats, they only drive them farther from God and only make them angry at God. They ought to terrify, but only the obstinate and hardened; but afterward, when people have become fearful and fainthearted, they are to strengthen and comfort them again.

—Martin Luther, “Gospel for the Second Sunday in Advent,” in Luther’s Works: Church Postil I, ed. Benjamin T. G. Mayes, James L. Langebartels, and Christopher Boyd Brown, vol. 75 (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2013), 105–06. (HT: John Fonville)

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  1. When people do not preach the Gospel correctly amen

    -if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8: 36
    -it was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Gal 5: 1
    -For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2
    -To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and]excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Pet 1:1-4
    -The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.Ps 119:160

  2. Nowadays they try to terrify one with “with their scholarly knowledge of the puritans.” If you don’t know John Owen you cannot be Reformed…

    Excellent excerpt!

    • Good news! This is the view of most of the Reformed, Owen included. Of the 30+ quotations posted on this topic none has taught differently in substance. Even those who think our sins might be named in the judgment ( distinctly minority opinion) still clearly teach that we enter heaven by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed alone.

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