The Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Apology XII. Penitence
[Paragraphs 158-160] 158 Scripture explains that Job’s afflictions were not imposed on him because of his past misdeeds. So afflictions are not always punishments or signs of wrath. When in the midst of troubles terrified consciences see only God’s punishment and wrath, they should not feel that God has rejected them but they should be taught that troubles have other and more important purposes. They should look at these other and more important purposes, that God is doing his alien work in order to do his proper work, as Isaiah teaches in a long sermon in his twenty-eighth chapter.1 159 When the disciples asked who had sinned in the case of the blind man, Christ replied that the reason for his blindness was not sin but “that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). In Jeremiah (49:12) it is said, “Those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it.” Thus the prophets were killed, and John the Baptist, and other saints. 160 Therefore troubles are not always penalties for certain past deeds, but works of God, intended for our profit, that the power of God might be made more manifest in our weakness.
Luther’s Large Catechism
3rd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done, O Lord”
65 Therefore we who would be Christians must surely count on having the devil with all his angels5 and the world as our enemies and must count on their inflicting every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where God’s Word is preached, accepted or believed, and bears fruit, there the blessed holy cross will not be far away. Let nobody think that he will have peace; he must sacrifice all (tr-717) he has on earth — possessions, honor, house and home, wife and children, body and life. 66 Now, this grieves our flesh and the old Adam, for it means that we must remain steadfast, suffer patiently whatever befalls us, and let go whatever is taken from us.
67 Therefore, there is just as much need in this case as in every other case to pray without ceasing: “Thy will be done, dear Father, and not the will of the devil or of our enemies, nor of those who would persecute and suppress thy holy Word or prevent thy kingdom from coming; and grant that whatever we must suffer on its account, we may patiently bear and overcome, so that our poor flesh may not yield or fall away through weakness or indolence.”
6th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation”
As long as we remain in this vile life in which we are attacked, hunted, and harried on all sides, we are constrained to cry out and pray every hour that God may not allow us to become faint and weary and to fall back into sin, shame, and unbelief. Otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.
106 This, then, is “leading us not into temptation” when God gives us power and strength to resist, even though the tribulation is not removed or ended. For no one can escape temptations and allurements as long as we live in the flesh and have the devil prowling about us. We cannot help but suffer tribulations, and even be entangled in them, but we pray here that we may not fall into them and be overwhelmed by them.
“We should not fear harsh treatment (Gewalt), but prosperity and good days we should fear. These may harm us more than fear and persecution. Nor should we fear the wisdom of the world, for it can do us no harm. In fact, the more the wisdom of the world rises up against the truth, the purer and clearer the truth becomes. Therefore nothing better can come to the Gospel than the opposition of the world with its might and wisdom. The more my conscience, sin, and the devil assail me, the stronger my righteousness becomes. For the sins that oppress me cause me anguish. So I persist more and more earnestly in prayer and crying to God; and in this way faith and righteousness become constantly stronger and stronger. This is what St. Paul means when he says (2 Cor. 12:9): Strength becomes stronger in weakness. Since, then, we have a treasure which becomes stronger through temptation and adversity, we should not fear but be of good courage and rejoice at tribulation, as St. Paul says to the Romans (5:3), and as the apostles did who left the courthouse with great joy and thanked God for having been worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Christ’s name (Acts 5:41). If the devil were wise enough to be silent and let the Gospel be preached, he would sustain less harm. For when the Gospel is not attacked, it rusts and has no opportunity to reveal its power and might.” (W 10 I, 2, 422 – E 14, 300f – SL 11, 1807f)(Plass, What Luther Says, #3304 Ease Is a Greater Danger, Persecution, p1039)
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