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Doctrine is Heaven, Life is Earth

July 31st, 2010
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Doctrine is heaven; life is earth. In life there is sin, error, uncleanness, and misery, mixed, as the saying goes, “with vinegar.” Here love should condone, tolerate, be deceived, trust, hope, and endure all things (1 Cor. 13:7); here the forgiveness of sins should have complete sway, provided that sin and error are not defended. But just as there is no error in doctrine, so there is no need for any forgiveness of sins. Therefore there is no comparison at all between doctrine and life. “One dot” of doctrine is worth more than “heaven and earth” (Matt. 5:18); therefore we do not permit the slightest offense against it. But we can be lenient toward errors of life. For we, too, err daily in our life and conduct; so do all the saints, as they earnestly confess in the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed. But by the grace of God our doctrine is pure; we have all the articles of faith solidly established in Sacred Scripture. The devil would dearly love to corrupt and overthrow these; that is why he attacks us so cleverly with this specious argument about not offending against love and the harmony among the churches.

Martin Luther, American Edition of Luther’s Works, Vol. 27.

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Categories: Martin Luther Quotes
  1. July 31st, 2010 at 11:46 | #1

    Thanks, Paul, for reminding us of these gems! How true, timeless….and timely! To the degree that we consistently apply these truths to our ecclesial supervision throughout synod, we will gradually know a unity that we haven’t known for decades. If we ignore them, nothing will change. God grant us the wisdom to consistently apply this principle of fellowship throughout His Church.

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