Home > Martin Luther, Martin Luther Quotes > Daily Luther: You Can’t Force Anyone to Believe

Daily Luther: You Can’t Force Anyone to Believe

May 30th, 2012
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

“Therefore it is useless and impossible to command or compel anyone by force to believe one thing or another. A different method must be used; force cannot accomplish it …. Faith is a voluntary thing, to which no one can be forced. Nay, it is a divine work in the soul, certainly not a matter which outward authority could compel or create …. The blind, wretched folk do not see how utterly hopeless and impossible a thing they are attempting. For no matter how sternly they command and how hard they rave, they can only force the mouth and hand of the people to comply; the heart they cannot compel, though they wear themselves out trying …. In this way they compel weak consciences to lie, to deny, and to say what they do not believe in their hearts, and thus they load themselves down with the dreadful sins of others.” (St. L. X:397 f.)

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
  1. Jonathan Trost
    May 30th, 2012 at 13:23 | #1

    How Lutheran (scriptural) can it get! Luther says that the ability to accept the Gift is, in itself, a gift, i.e., non-voluntary, a “divine work in the soull.”

    I recall hearing a law professor once describe the 3 necessary components of a gift: 1) intention of the donor; 2) delivery by the donor; and 3) acceptance by the donee. If there is no acceptance, the gift “falls flat”, i.e., it fails.

    So it is with faith. God intends that we have the gift of faith. Unlike prizes, rewards, and awards which are all earned, merited, and deserved, and all about the recipient of them, true gifts are unearned, unmerited, and undeserved, and are, rather, all about the donor.

    So, then, God not only intends, but delivers (offers up) the gift, unconditionally. It’s there for the taking, and waiting for our acceptance.

    And then comes the difficult part. Unaided by the additional gift of the Holy Spirit which makes it possible for us to accept the gift, we say “Thanks, but no thanks.” For sure, our ability to accept the gift of faith is “a divine work in the soul” without which we would be unable to accept the gift of faith.

    Thanks be to God Who gives us the gift of being able to accept the gift of faith!

Comments are closed.