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Civil Authority

May 21, 2020
By Martin Luther

Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.

GENESIS 41:42

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Civil Authority

Those masks of judges, magistrates, teachers, doctors, and lawyers are necessary; but one must merely use them, not enjoy them. For you are not a man to be adored by the rest, but it is God's will that this life be governed and preserved, in order that the works of the devil may be abolished and peace and discipline may be retained. This must be the goal of all government. For God does not pay consideration to any "person" position when He confers salvation. Why, then, does He create and set up these ranks and grades of human society? He does so in order that He may humble you under this burden and lead you to the recognition of your weakness and wretchedness. This plan of God you abuse and turn into the opposite, that is, toward pride and arrogance, although it is God's will that under these masks you should serve His ordinance and man's need. In this way God wanted to come to the aid of man's need, and for this reason He has commanded that honor be bestowed on the government, as is written: "Respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7). Without these masks peace and discipline could not be preserved. Therefore use these gifts to the glory of God and for the common good.

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