Skip to content

Our Progress Under the Sun

“In short, everywhere there is nothing but misfortune: outside they persecute the word; among us they despise and neglect it; pastors almost die of hunger and receive no other reward for their godly labors than ingratitude and hatred. Where is the prosperity here? Certainly only in the spirit.

Therefore rouse yourself. Do not give in to evils, but go forth more boldly against them. Hold on. Do not be disheartened either by contempt or ingratitude within or by agitation and raging without. But think as follows: ‘When I am weak, I am strongest (2 Corinthians 12:10); when I am suppressed, I rise up, as a palm rises under its burden.’ … when we are closest to despair, that hope rises the highest. So today, when there is the greatest contempt and weariness with the word, the true glorying of the word begins.”

“Therefore we should learn to understand this verse as speaking of invisible progress and success. Our King enjoys success and good fortune even though you do not see it. Moreover, it would not be expedient for us to see this success, for then we would be puffed up. Now, however, he raises us up through faith and gives us hope. Even though we see no fruit of the word, still we can be certain that fruit will not be wanting but will certainly follow; for so it is written here. Only we should not be discouraged when we look at present circumstances that disturb us, but we should much rather look at these promises. For according to the example of Christ, their Lord, Christians must be weak and despised people, who by their good deeds merit nothing but the greatest derision and the utmost ingratitude. So those who are in the teaching office should teach with the greatest faithfulness and expect no other remuneration than to be killed by the world, trampled under foot, and despised by their own.”

“Yet this is very difficult. Therefore when I see things going this way, I occasionally lose patience and think seriously: ‘If it were not for the fact that this doctrine has already been spread abroad in the world, I would rather do something else than make it known to an ungrateful world.’ But these are carnal thoughts, and they are evil. Let the world be as ungrateful as it wills, let it abuse the word as it wills, we must still not give up the office of teaching. We should hold out and persevere, commending to God the success and good fortune of the word. He is the kind of King who will have success, steadfastness, and victory, if not in this place and time, then at another time and place. This splendor and success is clearer than all the stars, even though we do not see it.”

“…[The wicked] seem to be the most successful of all, while we appear to be the most unfortunate. Everywhere we are brought to a standstill. Nowhere do we enjoy success, but our chariot is stuck in the deepest mud. Such is our ministry and teaching. But these things have been written in order to teach us that this must be our fortune, as Christ said to his disciples (John 16:4): “I have said these things to you that, when your hour comes, you may remember.”

“…For that reason teach purely and faithfully, and in all you do expect not glory but dishonor and contempt, not wealth but poverty, violence, prison, death, and every danger. Your King foretells these things. In this life you should expect nothing else; only in the life to come will he give you a fitting reward for your labor, so that when others are thrown into hell, he will appoint you to a glorious place in preference to the others. Only persevere.”

“… With his whole weight the devil is bent on inciting lies and crushing the truth. This truth is the very faith that determines true worship and true religion. Therefore Satan cannot bear it, but raises up against it innumerable and various forms of religion and hypocrisy. If Christ were not to aid us in establishing his Kingdom and in defending the truth, we should perish and be unable to hold our ground against the many lies and conflicts that all aim at establishing falsity and idolatry, and broadcasting godless opinions about God and turning people away from faith and truth. Therefore, dear Christ help us. Be the brave fighter to defend the truth. It is distressed among us, too, but in the world’s sight it is considered to be heresy, error, blasphemy. In the world’s view, nothing is more godless or miserable than the truth.”

“… So only God’s righteousness is miserable and oppressed. All the other righteousnesses have a certain respectability and a certain glory. The philosophers praise their righteousness and deck it with prodigious praise… But only against this righteousness of Christ do all the others rage; it is despised, disgraced, cast under foot, and in the dust. Therefore, dear Christ, press forward thy word, and preserve for us this abused righteousness, which is still the only true righteousness. Preserve the truth that is denounced as a lie. If thou wilt thus advance into battle in thy knighthood, in order to aid the truth and humiliated righteousness of faith then, ‘Thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.'”

“… Push on the war, and thou wilt encounter miraculous success. Hold fast; you will still see miracles come from it.” (Luther, Sermon on Psalm 45:4)

Published inSoul KeepingThe ChurchThe Son

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *