1 Corinthians 5:3–5
From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
I imagine I should reply to everything while I am still living. But how can I alone stop all the mouths of the devil—especially those (as they are all poisoned) who will not listen or notice what we write? Their sole labor is shamefully perverting and corrupting our every word and letter. I will allow the devil to answer them—or in the end, God’s wrath—as they deserve.
Pulling It Together: Luther is still speaking primarily of the fanatics, the schwärmerei, those who used Luther’s words to their own ends. They twisted his teachings, bringing division to the church instead of reform. How could Luther correct people who were devoted to spinning the truth? Denying them worship and fellowship, putting them out of the community of faith, is a last resort. Luther’s only recourse may have been having nothing to do with them himself. Perhaps in this way, those whose faith were disasters might come under the conviction of the Law and come to repentance and restoration. Being put out of the church or at the arm-length of Luther, they, at very least, stood less chance of bringing the faith of others to shipwreck.
Prayer: O Lord, help me appreciate the joy of your people. Amen.
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