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Martin Luther on the Conscience

Luther's Works, vol. 75 (Church Postil I)

From the beginning of his work on the postils, Martin Luther intended them for common pastors and people, and thus they were to be the great devotional book of the Reformation. Luther’s collected sermons for the church year were originally published in two series: the Church Postil and the House Postil. These were among his most popular works. Aside from his catechisms, they did more to teach people the Reformation than any other book. Volume 75 provides the sermons on the Epistle and Gospel readings from Advent through Christmastide in fresh, clear English.

The following excerpt is taken from the Epistle Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent, on 1 Corinthians 4:1–5 (paragraph 41).

Now there is no greater witness before God than the conscience, for God does not judge as people do, by appearances, but by the heart, as He says, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16 [:7]). Therefore, the testimony of our conscience is of greater value before God than the testimony of all the world. It alone is what will count, as he writes: “Their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on the day when God judges the secrets of the heart” (Romans 2 [:15–16]).

From Luther’s Works volume 75 © 2013 Concordia Publishing House, www.cph.org. Contact CPH for permission to reproduce this material.

The complete text of this postil, including the detailed annotations not included here, are available in LW 75: Church Postil I. This volume is part of the expansion of the American Edition of Luther’s Works. Learn more at cph.org/luthersworks.

Written by

DawnW

Dawn Mirly Weinstock has been with Concordia Publishing House for 25 years and has served as a production editor for professional and academic books for more than 10 years. Her projects have included Luther's Works, Johann Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces, and the writings of Hermann Sasse, C. F. W. Walther, and many others.

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