Sermons That Tickle Ears?

Excerpt from:Luther, Martin. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 25: Lectures on Romans. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 25, p. 415). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

For the word which heretics preach produces great satisfaction for them, because it sounds the way they want it to. But they want the greatest piety (as it seems to them). And thus their own thinking stands unchanged and their own will unbroken. For the Word does not come to them contrary to or above what they think but in accord with what they think, so that they are already equal to the Word or even its judges. But the fact is that if the Word of God comes, it comes contrary to our thinking and our will. It does not allow our thinking to stand, even in those matters which are most sacred, but it destroys and eradicates and scatters everything, as Jer. 23:29 (cf. also 1:10) says: “Is not My Word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?” Hence it is an infallible sign that one really has the Word and carries it in himself, if he finds nothing in himself which pleases him, but only what is displeasing, that he is sad at all he knows, says, does, and feels, and finds pleasure only in others or in God. On the other hand, the clearest sign that the Word of God is not in a certain person is if he finds pleasure in himself, and rejoices in what he says, knows, does, and feels. The reason for all this is that the Word of God “breaks the rock in pieces” and destroys and crucifies whatever in us is pleasing to us and does not allow anything to remain in us except that which is displeasing, in order that it thereby may teach us to have pleasure, joy, and confidence only in God, and outside ourselves happiness and pleasure in our neighbor.

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