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The Humble Gospel
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. 

1 Corinthians 12:1–3, RSV

From Luther

No one can possibly possess the Holy Spirit, if he does not regard Christ as the Lord, much less if he call him accursed. Destroy the foundation and you destroy all; there will be no God, no Spirit, and all your claims, teaching and works are naught. You must recognize and be governed by the fact that either Christ must be received and believed in as the one true Lord, and praised and glorified as such, or else he will be cursed; between these alternatives is no medium. We are to make the doctrine of this verse the standard and authority as to what and how we preach concerning Christ. He who speaks by inspiration of the Holy Spirit certainly will not curse Christ; he will glorify and praise him. If his teaching is not to the glory of God, you may safely conclude that he is not true, not inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Thus Paul rejects the glorying and boasting of the sects over their offices and gifts — they who pretend to be filled with the Spirit and to teach the people correctly, and who make out that Paul and other teachers are of no consequence. Themselves the chief of apostles, the people must hear them and accept their baptism. More than that, they demand a higher attainment in the Spirit for gospel ministers, deeming faith, the sacrament and the outward office insufficient. All such teachers are in reality simply guilty of condemning, reproaching and cursing Christ, though themselves bearing and boasting that name. To slight Christ’s Word and ministry, and exalt in their stead other things as mediums for obtaining the Holy Spirit and eternal life, or at least as being equally efficacious and essential — what is this but scorning Christ and making him of no consequence? The tongue of a minister — the language he employs — must be of that simplicity which preaches naught but Christ. If he is to testify of the Saviour and glorify him, he cannot present other things whereby Christ would be ignored and robbed of his glory.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 279–80.

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