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An Excellent and Divine Repayment

December 05, 2018
By Martin Luther

What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits to me?

PSALM 116:12

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An Excellent and Divine Repayment

What is this rendering of God to us? What have we earned? Did He not give it gratis? Otherwise how will it be grace? But the Lord renders good for evil, which is an excellent and divine repayment. For even men return good for good. In fact, the heathen do good to those who do good (Luke 6:33). But this is what it means to be God: Not to take good but to give it and therefore to render good for evil. Since He gives gifts before He takes them, what else does He do but return good for evil? If, therefore, He gave the good before, then it was not there, but only evil was. What, therefore, shall I render, since He has rendered to me faith and truth, by which I am truthful in His presence, and thus I am now not a man but God and the son of God, and a child like the Father?

From First Lectures on the Psalms, on Psalm 116 (Luther's Works 11:403)

December 5