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)