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True Service of God

January 16, 2019
By Martin Luther

Serve the LORD with fear.

PSALM 2:11

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True Service of God

The Holy Spirit does not wish us to fear in such a way that we are overwhelmed by fear and despair. But just as He wishes presumption abolished and for that reason commands that we should fear, so He also wishes despair abolished, and commands that we should travel on the royal road, fearing and hoping at the same time. It is as though He wished to say: "Just as this King does not wish to tolerate the pride of kings and the righteousness of saints, so also He does not wish to tolerate the despondency of the poor and foolish who cannot counsel themselves. But He wills that you should fear and so escape pride or presumption, and that you should rejoice and so escape despair. Those who do not wish to fear Him, He threatens with blows, for He has a rod of iron. Those, however, who fear Him in such a way that they rejoice at the same time, that is, who believe they are justified by the mercy of God alone and by the favor of Christ, they are truly the children of God. They fear God not as a tyrant, but as children fear their parents, with respect. For they temper the fear of God with joy and hope. And yet they remain in humble reverence, lest their spirit grow too big and pass over into presumption." This is the true service of God, which, we acknowledge, can never be learned thoroughly.

From Commentary on Psalm 2 (Luther's Works 12:75)

January 16

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